Category: politics

The Whole World In A Grain Of Rice

grains of rice in a person's hand

To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour

The opening lines of Auguries of Innocence by William Blake

Bloomberg published a story on October 4th claiming that the Chinese government snuck a chip the size of a grain of rice onto the motherboards of servers built by the company Super Micro.

It was sent to foreign customers including 30 US companies, some of which had US government contracts. The report refers to a major bank (not named) and to Apple and Amazon.

Apple and Amazon have denied it. Bloomberg is a reputable news source. What is the truth of it?

Then, on 30th October Bloomberg published a short article in which it reported that Super Micro had said they had found no malicious software in its products.

It also reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had said it has “no reason to doubt” Amazon and Apple’s denials of Bloomberg’s reporting.

Why do I feel that this story has a long way to run?

Supreme Court On Trump’s Third Travel Ban

Remember the back and forth over the legality of President Trump’s travel ban?

Trump said it was not a travel ban that targeted muslims but a ban that targeted countries that might send people who posed a risk to the USA.

No one bought that argument because of what he had said previously and because the countries affected were Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela – most of which are countries with majority muslim populations.

Courts ruled against the legality of the ban, and the Trump Administration re-crafted the wording. Courts ruled against that and the Trump Administration re-crafted the wording of the ban again. It is that third iteration that went before the Supreme Court.

What happened in the end?

The Supreme Court first decided that it would proceed as though it had jurisdiction to decide the case even though the granting of visas are matters of sovereignty, and might therefore be seen as being beyond review.

To me that reads like a decision to trundle along and see whether they hit any bumps in the road to their substantive decision. In the end they rule with the Administration, which is unlikely to challenge their jurisdiction, so the court gets home safe and dry.

The substantive decision:

In a 5–4 decision the Supreme Court ruled that the third iteration of the travel ban does not exceed the president’s authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act and that ban does not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.

A win for the Administration.

The dissenting voices said that whatever the wording of the ban, when viewed together with what was spoken about by the President and the Administration about the intent of President Trump’s travel ban, it was clearly not about security but about religion.

The question for me is what the practical consequences have been? What is actually happening in terms of who can and cannot get into the country and in terms of who is trying or no longer trying to get in?