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Developments in the War on Terror

August 17th, 2005

Strikes me that nearly everything our government does these days which could be considered controversial can be explained by the War on Terror (or the Global Struggle against Extremism, etc). With the simple wave of the hand, a huge segment of the population becomes complacent and worry free… “how can something the government does to fight terror possible be bad for me?” Of course, this kind of thinking is what’s going to make BRAC a failure this year, has kept the Patriot Act on the books, and is the sole motivation behind the REAL ID Act, an onerous piece of legislation that requires the states to verify citizenship before issuing a drivers license. Many states don’t mind non-citizens having drivers licenses… having a license is a strong indication of having insurance and try to lead a live above the table. If the states capitulate (and early signs say they may not) it will only serve to drive non-citizens deeper into the underground and make it that much harder to enter society.

But that little story isn’t what inspired me to write about the War on Terror. Today the Seattle Times reports that a Spokane “Online University” (known as a “Diploma Mill”) is being investigated for a whole host of crimes. The central claim? That their diplomas are allowing terrorists to obtain H1-B visas. The visa program is not without its critics. Many claim that allowing foreigners into the country to take advanced well paying jobs is not the “American Way” (as opposed to coming into the country illegally to pick fruit for below minimum wage, which is equivalent to baseball and motherhood). I’m no big fan of these Online Universities, especially the constant email flow. Why would I want to pay all that money for a degree when I already have one and a second one is but a year away?

Beyond the annoyances, I figure Online Universities actually serve and important purpose. Knowing they exist provides incentives for would-be-employers to check the authenticity and accreditation of the applicant’s University. Seems that would help raise that status of those Universities that do both to go through the extensive and expensive accreditation process. Its true that such investigation would be expensive, but the market is neat; such a demand would rapidly create a cheep and efficient way to secure such information. But now that these Online Universities are a threat to national security I doubt the information market system will be allowed to work its magic.

On the plus side, it’s one less source of spam.

probonogeek Uncategorized

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