Obama - A New Nimbyism Blocks Carbon Pipelines

Mitt Romney was right about Russia


23-09-18 10:55

The author reflects on a meeting with Mitt Romney in 2011 and praises his intelligence, confidence, and clear stance on geopolitical issues. Both the author and Romney were concerned about the lack of a firm response from the US government towards Russia during the Obama administration, and the author notes that recent events have shown that Romney was correct about Russia. The author also comments on the current state of US politics, which may have influenced Romney's decision to leave the political scene. The author concludes by expressing gratitude for individuals like Romney who have contributed to America's national life through public service.

The shadow candidate set to overturn American politics


23-09-18 16:29

The most successful recent presidencies in the US have been characterised by a strong sense of improbability, with candidates who overcame adversity and achieved success against the odds, such as Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. However, the current front-runners for the 2024 presidential election, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, lack this sense of improbability. The author argues that improbability is in short supply in this campaign cycle, but highlights a few potential candidates who possess the qualities of improbability, such as Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Tim Scott, Marianne Williamson, and Eric Adams.

Deep-pocketed group backing Joe Biden launches Latino outreach campaign

Washington Post

23-09-18 21:01

Non-profit group Future Forward USA Action, which supports President Joe Biden’s re-election, has hired two veterans of his 2020 campaign to lead a new Latino advertising campaign. The ads will be launched in Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania this month. Future Forward plans to spend over $1m on the first spots, which focus on Biden’s bipartisan approach and policy accomplishments, and come on top of the $14m in ad spend that the group has already placed this month. The group is funded by wealthy Biden supporters and has become the third-largest advertising spender in the presidential race so far.

Anxiety ripples through the Democratic Party over Biden

Washington Post

23-09-18 20:28

A growing number of polls are showing voters concerned about President Biden’s age and energy. Democratic lawmakers have hesitated to offer full-throated endorsements of his running mate. Prominent commentators have ruminated on whether he should drop out of the presidential race. This series of political vulnerabilities — along with House Republicans announcing an impeachment inquiry and the Justice Department indicting Biden’s son on gun charges — is now sending waves of anxiety through parts of the Democratic Party, as some fret about whether the man who helped oust Donald Trump from the White House may not have the vitality, at 80, to successfully prevent a return. “He is in a period of his life where passing and death is imminent,” said Sharon Sweda, the leader of the Democratic Party in Lorain County in Ohio, who said she often hears from voters worried about the president’s potential frailty. “We are all on a ticking clock. But when you’re at his age or at Trump’s age, that clock is ticking a little faster, and that’s a concern for voters.”

‘Political dynamite for Biden’: Automakers’ strike could remake industry

The Sydney Morning Herald

23-09-19 01:03

The strike led by United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain at three General Motors, Ford Motor, and Stellantis NV factories is not a typical labour-versus-industry clash. Fain is pushing for drastic changes to wages and working conditions that would significantly impact the economics of car manufacturing. He has demanded 40% pay increases over the next four years and a 32-hour work week, which is unheard of in American manufacturing. Fain has also taken an unconventional approach by targeting all three companies simultaneously, causing disruptions in production. The strike could have broader implications for the American worker and for President Joe Biden, who has prioritized the development of the electric vehicle (EV) industry. If the UAW succeeds, it could encourage workers in other industries to demand higher wages and better working conditions. On the other hand, if the workers do not achieve their demands, it could discourage workers from unionizing in the future. The strike also presents a challenge for Biden, who wants to support workers but does not want to jeopardize the competitiveness of the US auto industry. The outcome of the strike could shape the future of labor relations in the US.

Why Cubans are fighting for Russia in Ukraine


23-09-19 04:01

Hundreds of Cubans have left the island to join Russia in its war in Ukraine, with recruiters offering money and Russian citizenship, according to families speaking to CNN. The communist-run island has suffered from a halt in tourism, spiking inflation and renewed US sanctions. In Santa Clara, a city of 250,000 people, frequent blackouts and more horses and carts than cars create an ideal recruitment ground. The recruiters made contact with potential recruits via Facebook and WhatsApp, offering work as cooks and construction workers. Once they arrived in Russia, the men found themselves on the front line, with recruiters sending photographs of food that was intended to “fatten” them up before being sent to the front line. Miguel, one of the recruits, was told by Russian officers that they had taken his phone and that he was now cannon fodder. In September, Cuban officials announced that citizens fighting in the war for Russia would be treated as illegal mercenaries and recruiters would be regarded as human traffickers. The Cuban foreign ministry stated that the country would take vigorous action against anyone using the country as a base for human trafficking for purposes of recruitment or mercenarism.

American Hatred Goes Global

Foreign Affairs

23-09-19 04:00

The United States has become a major exporter of extremist ideologies and violence, with American conspiracy theories, antigovernment extremism, and other forms of hate and intolerance spreading globally. Close allies such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom have designated American groups and citizens as foreign terrorists. The spread of these ideologies has led to acts of violence in other countries, such as the killing of two people at a gay bar in Slovakia by a man with racist and homophobic views. The United States' own history of racism and white supremacy, dating back to the Reconstruction Era, has fueled the far-right extremism that is now being exported. The "great replacement" theory, which claims that nonwhite individuals are being brought into Western countries to undermine white political power, has gained traction in the United States and is spreading internationally. This theory is often combined with the strategy of accelerationism, which seeks to hasten the collapse of society through violence and chaos. The United States' role in exporting these ideologies has profound implications for its standing in the world, as it is viewed as weak, divided, and vulnerable. Adversaries such as Russia and Iran have exploited this vulnerability in their own influence and information operations. Partners of the United States, including Canada, have taken steps to address the threat of right-wing extremism, designating American groups as terrorist entities. To address this problem, the United States should designate foreign neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups as foreign terrorist organizations and consider passing a domestic terrorism law to criminalize acts of violence targeting individuals based on protected categories. This would send a strong message that political violence has no place in a democracy.

Marijuana Rescheduling Is Creating a Buzz for Some, Consternation for DEA

James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy

23-09-19 17:05

It’s a gut-wrenching time for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — the last bastion of resistance to the federal legalization of marijuana. The DEA, which happens to be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, was created in 1973 as an anti-drug organization, when President Richard Nixon began the war on drugs to push back against the importation of “mota,” or “ganja,” as marijuana was popularly known, and other dangerous drugs.

In those days, weed arrived in the U.S. primarily from Mexico and Jamaica along with other drugs like “Mexican mud” and “black tar” heroin, which were also inundating the country in the 1960s and 1970s. U.S. culture was generally conservative at the time, and Americans and their government were shocked by the hippie revolution and the liberalism that was displayed, in part, through drug use. There was pushback to this counterculture movement, and the government proclaimed rock and rollers, hippies, drug users, and certain other groups to be antiestablishment, un-American revolutionaries — vilifying them as unsavory, fringe, and even dangerous members of society and causing marijuana users to face stigmatization and harsh punishment for decades. Countless marijuana smugglers and users were jailed, thanks especially to minimum mandatory sentencing guidelines that gave judges little or no room to negotiate prison terms.

During the Barack Obama administration, the federal government — working within the confines of politics, law, and public opinion — softened the authoritative stance previous administrations had taken regarding cannabis. It was during and after Obama’s presidency that many states began to decriminalize, and in some cases legalize, marijuana, to the point that the federal government became faced with a major decision: Should federal power be used to push back against those who dared challenge the traditional policy approach?

Fast-forward to the present. Congress is actively seeking to decriminalize marijuana, and the Joe Biden administration has leveraged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to petition the DEA to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and reclassify it as a Schedule III drug. HHS, the principal federal health agency, is now leaning on the law enforcement side of government to ask for the drug to be reclassified within CSA.

It’s hard to argue against medicine and science. The agency everyone is waiting on now is the DEA.

Within the DEA, meanwhile, this a is an angst-filled moment. Many DEA agents have died because of marijuana, and many others have been shot while toiling in the mountains of Mexico and around the world, in places where cannabis plantations thrived and were targeted for destruction. DEA agent Enrique Camarena, for example, is considered by many a legend and an icon — a martyr killed because he discovered “El Bufalo,” the largest marijuana plantation destroyed in Mexico at the time. That discovery led to his torture and death in 1985. His deep legacy within the DEA includes an emotional resistance toward marijuana legalization and decriminalization.

The drug war has been, and remains, real to these agents, analysts, task force officers, and other “narcs” who have done their part to enforce both the CSA and state laws. But like soldiers in any conflict or war, law enforcement professionals know that ultimately, they are the instruments of policy. And that policy is now changing, steadily moving toward decriminalization, legalization, and destigmatization at a faster pace than anyone could have predicted. Many DEA agents and law enforcement professionals, current and retired, see the enforcement of these policy changes as a betrayal of the oath of office by anyone who swore to uphold the law. As an institution, law enforcement professionals find it difficult to accept that American leadership at all levels is so broadly and consistently in favor of legalization, regardless of the political party holding the majority in Congress. But the law will likely change soon.

As laws continue to change, marijuana possession, sales, and use will likely soon be legal across the country at both the state and federal levels. Societal and cultural change is sometimes uncomfortable, but it’s always inevitable. Anyone with doubts about the approaching tsunami of change regarding marijuana should consider that these changes are not happening on a whim, without serious thought or sufficient time to reason. Rather, these changes are the result of decades of discussion, critique, questions, studies, and evolving societal views.

We all need to get behind it. My esteemed colleagues, friends, and policymakers in the DEA need to get behind these policy changes and put marijuana into the “bad memory” category of reflection, never forgetting those who died and worked, not in vain, but in the pursuit of what was considered by government, at the time, as a perceived danger to society. It’s time for the DEA to move on to more “clear and present dangers,” especially fentanyl, and other more imminent and deadly threats to our nation.

This material may be quoted or reproduced without prior permission, provided appropriate credit is given to the author and Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. The views expressed herein are those of the individual author(s), and do not necessarily represent the views of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.


Biden to meet Netanyahu in N.Y., but denies him long-sought White House visit

Washington Post

23-09-19 14:51

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet President Biden Wednesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The two world leaders have known each other for over 40 years, but Netanyahu has yet to receive an invitation to the White House. If no invitation is extended by the end of the year, Netanyahu will be the first incoming Israeli premier not to get a White House visit since 1969. Gideon Rahat, head of Hebrew University’s Political Science Department, said Netanyahu may not understand why Biden is treating him this way, as Netanyahu sees himself as a world leader. However, Biden has made no secret of his discomfort with the current Israeli government, and Netanyahu has brushed aside Biden's appeals for him to "walk away" from his government's plans to remake the country's judiciary. Despite this, Biden has given no sign that he is ready to get tough with Netanyahu, especially as Washington tries to broker a strategic rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

New Wall Street Journal Rankings of Colleges Are Good News for Students

American Enterprise Institute

23-09-19 21:13

For too long, U.S. News and World Report maintained a near-monopoly in the business of college rankings. But that has been changing. As more data on college outcomes has been made available through government portals over the last decade, more competitors have entered the field. The latest major player to join the ranks is the Wall Street Journal, which just recently launched its 2024 Best Colleges in the U.S. list, ranking 400 American universities according to student outcomes, a school’s learning environment, and diversity on campus.

This is good news for aspiring college students who now have more metrics at their disposal as they think about where to enroll. There is plenty of overlap among the major published rankings of colleges, but each does, in fact, have a unique method reflecting a particular set of values. In theory, students could now use rankings that reflect their own values regarding college.

For example, while one student might aspire to attend an institution with racial diversity on campus, another might wish to use rankings that reflect only the post-graduation earnings of graduates.

Indices and other quantitative measures attempt to shrink the complexity of the real world into a single dimension. Obviously, much is lost in this process. Nonetheless, these measures can play an important part in students’ decision to attend one college versus another, providing people who don’t have the time or money to study reams of data and tour dozens of campuses touchstones in their career and education journeys.

But does it necessarily make sense to collapse several variables like diversity, economic value, and learning environment into a single measurement, all weighted subjectively to create a ranking? For some, yes. But for others, perhaps with more idiosyncratic preferences, maybe not.

This is one area where the Department of Education’s College Scorecard, a data portal created by the Obama administration and upgraded to include program-level data by Secretary Betsy DeVos, offers an advantage over prebaked rankings like the new ones from the Wall Street Journal. The College Scorecard allows students to drill down to shop for colleges based on more granular parameters. For example, the Scorecard allows examination of earnings after graduation by major.

Unfortunately, the College Scorecard, like most government websites, leave something to be desired on the usability front. It lacks the better interface and consumer friendly, value-based rankings that those from third party rankings entities can provide. As this field continues to innovate, driven by the newfound competition, we hope to see the depth of information offered on the College Scorecard matched by third party rankings but also paired with usability at the same time.

One size does not fit all in education. Future rankings from the Journal and other institutions interested in pursuing a similar project could include more room for students to filter scorecards according to their own idiosyncratic preferences.

More comprehensive college rankings with room for customization predicated on students’ interests promise to not only improve consumers’ ability to make informed choices, but also make the higher education marketplace more dynamic, and ultimately more affordable. Hopefully, more institutions create college rankings like the Journal and U.S. News and World Report, building out students’ abilities to filter them based on their own inclinations.

Learn more: Kick the Bipartisan Addiction to Higher Education Accountability Metrics | Department of Education Should Withdraw its Innovation-Killing OPM Guidance | A Degree of Risk | Democrats should drop the crazy rhetoric and pursue higher education reform

The post New Wall Street Journal Rankings of Colleges Are Good News for Students appeared first on American Enterprise Institute - AEI.


China is preparing for war, and Britain is flailing


23-09-19 19:00

The UK needs to recognise the threat posed by China and adopt a common approach with other free societies to address it, according to former US National Security Adviser John Bolton. Writing in The Telegraph, Bolton argued that China has been waging economic war against the West for decades, but the UK has been slow to appreciate the risks. He called for a Nato-like alliance among free societies to tackle the threat and warned that ignoring the reality facing the West would ensure defeat.

Hunter Biden to plead not guilty to gun charges


23-09-19 22:47

Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, will plead not guilty to charges related to a 2018 gun purchase, according to his lawyer. Hunter Biden was indicted last week for possessing a gun while an illegal drug user and lying to buy it. His lawyer has requested that the initial court appearance be held remotely to minimise disruption. If convicted, Biden could face up to 25 years in prison. The charges stem from a period when he was struggling with a crack cocaine addiction.

FTC consumer protection chief puts data brokers on notice

Washington Post

23-09-21 13:00

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consumer protection chief, Sam Levine, will use a speech at a data summit to criticise data brokers for prioritising the extraction of as much consumer data as possible, with little regard for privacy. Levine will argue that data brokers' actions threaten constitutional rights and can be used against individuals. The speech indicates that the agency is stepping up scrutiny of the data broker industry, and may undertake more stringent enforcement against privacy infringements. Levine will call on companies to more carefully vet data brokers and implement more robust privacy practices. The FTC launched a lawsuit against data broker Kochava last year, which it failed to win in May. However, the agency is unlikely to be deterred from pursuing future lawsuits, despite this setback.

Introducing the Class of 2024: A Spotlight on Deportation in the U.S. with Caitlin Dickerson


23-09-21 12:31

This month, the New America Fellows Program announced the Class of 2024 National Fellows. An impressive group of 15 scholars, journalists, and filmmakers were selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants. Over the course of their fellowships, the 2024 National Fellows will explore issues including intergenerational caregiving, deportation, Islamophobia, psychedelics and the mental health industry, reproductive healthcare, and more.

One of this year’s talented fellows is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Caitlin Dickerson. Dickerson’s deeply reported work on topics related to immigration and deportation compellingly illuminate and break down these complex subjects for all readers.

In this extended Q&A from The Fifth Draft — the National Fellows Program’s newsletter featuring exclusive content about and from our Fellows — Class of 2024 Fellow Caitlin Dickerson gave us insight into her forthcoming project about deportation in the United States. Sign up for The Fifth Draft to hear how the world’s best storytellers find ideas that change the world.

Your Fellows Project will be a book that explores deportation in the United States. Can you share the genesis of this project?

The idea for this book began to percolate as I was reporting some of my first stories about immigration, while I was at NPR during the Obama administration. I realized that a lot of immigration writing led up to the moment when a person was either deported or not, but us journalists were rarely sticking around to find out what happened afterward. Over the years, I also became increasingly interested in how effectively immigrant labor — and in particular, unauthorized immigrant labor — is hidden from public view, as well as how the powerful law enforcement lobby perpetuates the status quo. I decided I wanted to try to tell that story comprehensively, through intimate narrative writing and deep research, in a way that depoliticizes the issue as much as possible, while making clear that it impacts almost every American and American community.

You won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting for your piece on the separation of migrant children from their parents during the Trump administration. How does that work tie into your book project?

The book won’t draw directly from my reporting on family separation but they’re certainly connected. The best way to explain this is to quote loosely from my Fellows project proposal, which talks about those early journalistic encounters I had with families that were impacted by deportation: “As I went on to spend years covering other issues — dismal conditions inside massive detention centers, asylum seekers expelled to their deaths, the forced wrenching of children from their parents — it became clear to me that these phenomena flowed outward and resulted from the core of our nation’s immigration system: deportation. The more I learned about how and why that system was built, the clearer it became that immigration status can prove as critical as socioeconomics, gender, or race in carving the trajectory of a person’s life.”

In your book, you will delve into the multi-billion dollar deportation industry, with a particular focus on immense immigrant detention facilities. How did you gain access to these facilities? What challenges did you face researching and reporting on them?

Gaining access to detention facilities isn’t easy but it’s something I’ve done before. It involves negotiations with the government and, if the facility is privately run, the corporation that owns it. Reporting in carceral settings is always difficult because of all the restrictions on who can enter and what you can bring inside. Even when you’re allowed in, you’re often stuck in a small box of a room without the ability to record, and sometimes, without even the ability to take handwritten notes. But a lot of great reporting has been done through a combination of in-person visits and then speaking with detainees by phone or video message, as well as with facility staff during non-work hours, so that’s what I plan to do.

You have worked in radio and podcasts as well as print journalism. How does your process differ for each medium? Do you prefer one over the other for certain types of stories?

Add video to that list. I think every story has an ideal medium in which to be told, but I also like repurposing stories in multiple formats, because it can vastly expand the reach and impact of your reporting.

Compared to other forms of storytelling, a print author has much more creative control, of course, because the quotation-to-written-copy ratio is by far the greatest. And you can cram a lot more information like characters and data, not to mention graphic elements, into a book or article, because readers can put it down if they need a break and then return to it later, or look back at a prior page to remind themselves of something they forgot or were confused by (though ideally, they never become confused!). Video interests me because it opens up access to a vast and important audience of people who just don’t have the time, ability, or sufficient interest for print works or podcasts, no matter how well executed they are. Audio is also very dear to me. I don’t think there’s anything more moving than the sound of a person’s voice. Forget the actual words, the voice itself carries so much information through tone, pauses, breaths, gasps. I think there’s something universal about the voice, which can be really important when you’re covering a polarizing issue. In my opinion, this is why it took an audio file of crying children that was leaked to ProPublica for family separation to become an international scandal despite all the print stories that I and other reporters (including the ones at ProPublica who got the audio) had been writing about the issue for months.

How do you hope your book will contribute to policy and the ongoing debate around deportation and immigration in the United States?

My hope is that shedding light on the reality of our relationship to immigrants living in the U.S. without legal authorization — which is actually much more symbiotic than it is often portrayed — will help people to see the issue with fresh eyes. I also hope to arm readers with the information they need to push back against the lazy talking points that are often employed by politicians on both sides of the aisle to score points by blaming each other for various aspects of the system that aren’t working while dodging any sense of responsibility for fixing it.


Crown prince confirms Riyadh will seek nuclear arsenal if Iran develops one


23-09-21 11:48

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said that if Iran develops a nuclear bomb, Saudi Arabia will do the same. The announcement comes as the US is seeking a Saudi-Israeli normalisation deal, which Prince Mohammed said was getting closer “every day”. However, there are several obstacles to a deal coming to fruition. These include resistance from Israel’s hard-right cabinet, difficulties in getting formalised security guarantees through Congress and Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record. A key issue is nuclear cooperation. Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act requires any US cooperation in helping a foreign state build up a civilian nuclear programme to ensure that no nuclear technology or material under the agreement is used to make weapons. Any relaxation of these conditions for Saudi Arabia would trigger outrage in Congress, where opposition to Riyadh is widespread. Commentators have speculated that if the US does not offer Saudi Arabia a nuclear cooperation deal then it could seek one with China.

Trump says he always had autoworkers' backs. Union leaders say his first-term record shows otherwise

The Independent

23-09-21 17:27

Former President Donald Trump plans to visit Detroit next week to speak to striking autoworkers in an attempt to position himself as an ally of blue-collar workers. However, union leaders have criticized Trump's record in the White House, stating that his first term was not worker-friendly. Union leaders point to unfavorable rulings from the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as unfulfilled promises of automotive jobs. The labor board reversed several key Obama-era rulings that made it easier for small unions to organize and provided protection against anti-union measures for employees. The Supreme Court has also made several rulings against unions. Despite Trump's claims of economic gains and policies that benefited workers, job growth figures in the auto industry during his presidency contradict his claims. Union leaders argue that Trump's appointments to the labor board and the Supreme Court show a preference for business and property owners over workers. Trump hopes to win back the support of union-friendly states like Michigan in the 2024 election.

Trump says he always had autoworkers’ backs. Union leaders say his first-term record shows otherwise

Associated Press

23-09-21 17:27

Former President Donald Trump plans to visit striking autoworkers in Detroit next week and speak directly to former and current union members, in an attempt to position himself as an ally of blue-collar workers. However, union leaders have repeatedly rebuffed Trump, saying that his first term was far from worker-friendly and citing unfavorable rulings from the labor board and the US Supreme Court, as well as unfulfilled promises of automotive jobs. Union leaders also point to unfavorable Supreme Court rulings under a conservative majority that grew during Trump’s term. They highlight how the Trump-era board reversed a decision holding employers responsible for labor violations by subcontractors or franchisees, and gave a boost to companies that use contract labor, making organizing harder. Job growth figures in the auto industry during Trump’s presidency contradict his claim that the industry thrived under his watch. The total number of auto manufacturing jobs in Michigan stayed even during Trump’s presidency, and in Ohio the number of auto manufacturing jobs grew by fewer than 2,000.

White House Directs Agencies to Account for Climate Change in Budgets

NY Times

23-09-21 17:04

The Biden administration has issued a directive that would require federal agencies to consider the economic damage caused by climate change when deciding what goods to buy, including vehicles and equipment. The directive could affect purchasing decisions across agriculture, defense, healthcare and other sectors. The changes could shift the federal government's purchases towards electric vehicles and away from gasoline-powered cars and trucks, as well as reshape or cancel major construction projects. Critics fear the directive will harm the fossil fuel industry. The new guidance does not carry the force of law and may be prevented by existing statutes in some cases.

Inside the Deal to Free 5 American Prisoners in Iran

NY Times

23-09-22 00:22

The release of five Americans held captive in Iran was the result of years of painstaking negotiations, according to a New York Times article. The report outlines how talks to free the five prisoners were at one point caught up in broader discussions around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Obama-era nuclear deal from which former US President Donald Trump withdrew. However, the negotiations eventually became separate from the JCPOA, and involved the US unfreezing $6bn in Iranian oil revenue and dropping charges against five Iranians accused of violating US sanctions. The American prisoners, Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi, Morad Tahbaz, and two others whose identities have been withheld, were eventually freed and arrived back in the US on 14 September.

The novelists painting a human picture of Modi’s divided India

Financial Times

23-09-22 04:00

A group of Indian writers, mostly in their late thirties to early fifties, are using fiction to illuminate the realities of life in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These novels provide intimate portraits of ordinary lives in a country experiencing massive social and political changes, from glistening skyscrapers amid rundown infrastructure to the rise in killings of Muslims. Some novels draw on real events such as demonetisation and the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, while others explore speculative futures or delve into the historical past to better observe the present.