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Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Healthcare. Legislative Recusal Time. Financial Interest? De-Weight the Vote

Legislator with financial stake, cutting off constituent interests in alternatives
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Weight the Votes

De-Weight the Votes
For Financial Stake in the Outcome
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Financial conflict of interest. How often does that arise in the context of a legislator and pending legislation, were the legislator has a cinancial interest. Weight the vote he votes. Higher for no financial stake; lower for financial stake proportional to the stake. Or the industry's gifts (bribes) to him, or his campaign chest. How else to counter objective financial conflict of interest.


Recusal? Or, the weighted vote?

How to get universal healthcare? How to neutralize the clout of legislators with financial interests in the outcome; their failure to weigh the interests of their constituents, is that happening?

Neutralize the acid special interests, as far as feasible. Easy as 1-2.
.
1. Disclose.

Disclose the value of the financial interest publicly and objectively.
    Some provisions are already in place, but paltry. The flaw with mere objective valuation is that voters must wait for the next election to speak out against self-interested voting;

    2. Weight or De-Weight the Vote, to neutralize personal stake.

    Give full vote to the lowest level of financial interest. The greater the financial interest, the less weight to the vote. Reduce the value of each vote according to the proportion of investments to the topic being voted upon, to the entire portfolio.

    Examples:
    • A full vote. This is awarded to the legislator who holds 5% of the value in his portfolio for healthcare investments-related interests; or $10,000, whichever value is lower.
    • Down to a two-thirds vote. This is awarded to the legislator who holds 10% of the value in his portfolio for healthcare; or $20,000, whichever value is lower. Such a deal.
    • Down to a one third vote. This is awarded to the legislator who holds for more than 10% of the value in his portfolio for healthcare, or $30,000, whichever value lower.
    • Recuse. This is required for the legislator 1) who holds more than 15% of the value in his portfolio, or $50,000, whichever value is lower; or 2) fails to disclose as required. Recuse: disqualify oneself or be disqualified based on grounds of prejudice, conflict of interest, or involvement. See ://www.thefreedictionary.com/recuse/ This is objective by objective standards, not countered by personal statements vowing the person will not be swayed by his or her own portfolio..
    Legislators have the option now to recuse at any level of financial interest, but who does?
    Issues of fundamental rights, which should include universal healthcare, are not for the financially self-interested profiteers to decide in an unhindered way.
    .
    Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness Require Healthcare. Decide it with objectivity.
    .
    ......................................

    A. Healthcare is, to people, a fundamental right.

    Constitutional approach. Find a Fundamental Nature in Right to Healthcare. See fundamental rights at ://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/FTrials/conlaw/fundrights.html/ Essential to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.

    For example, voting is already considered fundamental. Speculate: is healthcare also so basic that it deserves special protection, as against its being treated as a mere commercial commodity. Then see the Declaration of Independence as a start for how to interpret the Constitution.Reread the Declaration of Independence, see ://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/index.htm/ Each of us has an inalienable right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. That right is thwarted when reasonable healthcare is denied.
    .
    B. How to rein in special interests, high personal stakes in outcomes

    1. Recusal of legislators

    How do voters re-assume power, power to offset the power of the money that is guiding the people supposedly to act in their interest.

    Do we have legislators divest, put funds in blind trusts, or have referendums (referenda) for these kinds of huge issues. This is an explore site, not an answer site. Where to go. Who has money for campaigns in referenda, or to push amendments. California has been in litigation about its issues for years now.
    .
    Requiring objectively self-interested persons step aside from such issues, is not new.
    .
    See this article, The Great Recusal, from The American Prospect, from the Enron era, 2002, at ://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_great_recusal/ It traces reform movements - in 1917 after robber baron abuses, then the laissez-faire abuses leading to the Great Depression abuses. Its necessity: Reforms only work

    "so long as the power of voters offset the power of money."

    Capitalism is not self-correcting. Medicine needs regulating against the same kind of opportunism that plagues other marketplaces. Even the accountants, supposed to be a watchdog of sorts, were in on the deals.

    But then what happens. After a mass recusal, who's left? And how about the disenfranchised constituents?

    2. Weighted voting. Or, de-weighted voting.

    EXPLORE THE PROPORTIONALLY REDUCED VOTE.

    Do we say that a legislator has a full vote if his holdings are 5% or less as to his total portfolio; and decrease to a 2/3 vote if he has up to 10%, and decreases further to a 1/3 vote if he exceeds 10%. Is that a feasible outline? If 5% is too low for a full vote, pick another. More than 15%? Recuse.

    Either way,proportional weighted voting puts it up to the tainted legislators to either divest themselves in order to get full vote for their constituents, or put investments in a blind trust for the rest of their employment as legislator, or keep their coins and get a fraction of a vote.
    .
    De-weight the vote. Keep the most self-interested legislators from having a full vote. First get disclosure with valuations reasonably objectively arrived at. See what proportion healthcare matters comprises in each portfolio. The untainted will divest themselves so they can give their constituents a full vote, or put their items in a blind trust. We'll know the others by their limping. * This starts to rid us of systemic bias. It also informs voters.

    C. Disclosure. Apply the light of day.
    Sunlight: World's Best Disinfectant

    Sunlight, Hermann Dahl, DE Artist, deceased, whereabouts of heirs unknown

    1. First, immediate disclosure of all financial benefit, campaign contributions, income and gifts received, promises made, financial holdings, related to the healthcare industry, healthcare insurers, and online now.

    Then, Recusal. Voluntary or guided. Disclosure not provided? You leave. Forfeit.

    • Disclosure is staggering along, with its equally staggering opportunities for obfuscation. See the way Nancy Pelosi's transparency steps in the House as to expenditures of members are capturing local interest - see http://kansasmeadowlark.com/2009/06/03/speaker-pelosi-orders-new-transparency/
    • The legislator disclosure required now is paltry - no real valuations.
    2. Second, clarify the ethics.

    Ethical obligations of legislators are hard to pin down: few apply during the work itself. See Federal Conflicts of Interest at ://www.dcbar.org/for_lawyers/ethics/legal_ethics/600.cfm/ The ethical issues most addressed to date circle around post-employment activities; or receiving money from special interests. Those are simple minded. Dismal.
    .
    How about the representative or senator (or judge) who holds more than 5% in investments that will increase with a vote this way, and decrease with a vote that way. What weight. Recuse, as to the judge; because there are other judges. As to legislators, think further.

    Why not demand recusal. If 5% is too low, you experts pick something else. But the tainted people step aside. If need be, for healthcare go a more drastic route. People can always divest, or put matters in blind trusts before taking office. Even Andrew Carnegie advocated self-divestment before death as an ideal for the very rich - see Gospel of Andrew Carnegie - Self-Divestment. That step also reduces the need for taxes. Read the essay.

    D. Enlightened Self-Interests

    The concept of enlightened self-interest rises again in financial and cultural terms. Alexis DeToqueville wrote of it in 1835 - see it reappear, for example in this 1999 article, The Economics of Enlightened Self Interests, at ://web.missouri.edu/ikerdj/papers/Rethinking.html/; see the balance needed between I me mine, and considering you and yours. See ://www.managingstress.com/articles/enlight.htm/ Self interest alone has long been touted as the natural order of things, all that is needed for a market to operate, and the best of all possible systems when everyone pursues it, ://www.acton.org/commentary/commentary_360.php/

    This worship of self interest ignores, however, its malignancy. Look at the ability of one to cage the many, for the sake of that one's own self-interest. Would that diminish with full disclosure, that gives the voters more information and power at least for the next election. What shakes out when the dark corners get lit.

    First comes disclosure; then maybe comes recusal. An ideal. Gibraltar here.

    Head for the boat. Recuse before you disclose. Save all of us.

    4. The meme spreads.

    The idea of more objectively neutral decision-makers is in the wind.

    An inroad has been made already in the issue of personal financial interest recusals, in the area of judges. See fast overview of recusal area at the everyman's ://www.answers.com/topic/recuse/. Find a more legal analysis of the recent case, Caperton v. A. T. Massey Coal Company , at ://washparkprophet.blogspot.com/2009/06/due-process-can-require-recusal-of.html/; and the U.S. Supreme Court News account at ://onthedocket.org/articles/2009/06/08/divided-court-finds-judge-should-have-recused-himself-donor-case-june-8-2009/

    Those are due process issues, in litigation. But there are parallels between a judge in an adjudication, and an elected official standing in judgment on a piece of legislation - thumbs up or thumbs down, in the best Colisseum tradition. The legislator votes himself healthcare. Most of them have plenty of money to pay for whatever. What do they care. Is that it?

    5. Time's Up. Weighting Vote and Recusals Now. Why not?

    You with time and expertise. Healthcare.
    .
    It is not just a commodity any more. What is more basic to the productivity of the country than healthy people. What is the role of stress in continuing low productivity, low motivation, hopelessness, the disease of disregard, rankism's worst effects. Yet, can we expect people to vote for needed change if it might -- read, will -- reduce their immediate income. AMA, insurers, whatever.
    .
    Where to start on building in recusals against voting in these matters where the voter is financially interested. Are there ways. Listening. Listening. Come in, moon. Follow the money, says the New York Times, at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/weekinreview/14abelson.html?ref=policy/ We are and it isn't pretty. Stridency, self-interest, coming our way.

    Disclose. Weigh the vote. Recuse. Just do it. The Gordion Knot here just needs a bold stroke. See Health care, Human Infrastructure; The Gordion KnotValuation issues: pick a valuation date and just do it. Divorces are full of valuation approaches. Read up.

    REFERENDUM.

    If there are more than 50% recusals in the legislature, we do a referendum -- absolutely reasonable when an issue is this fundamental, as is healthcare for everyone. This site prefers a government option, in addition to private, but all the proposals are not in.

    We can do that. Experts, lay out a road map. FN 1 Do we need to amend the constitution? Why? Eye on the goal. America stands for life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. Without healthcare, none of us has a chance of that. Does healthcare arise to the level of a Constitutional right? We could make that argument.

    Does healthcare as we institutionalize it promote capitalism? Of course. Financially.

    But what good is a capitalism that promotes unproductivitiy, keeps the majority of the workforce sick, encourages pollution, food taint, no buses, lousy houses, poor education. That is not capitalism at all because the workings of it calcify an artificial cap on competition. Hello, antitrust activities. Labor-fixing.

    This site supports the public plan healthcare option, in addition to the private plans people might want to retain. Perhaps you could tell. Death rides a green horse. Not only money as the color green, but the actual Revelations color. Not the pale horse you were taught at all. FN 2

    .................................................................

    * How to know when someone is for you, or against you. Do we believe what they say.

    Do the people say this as to disclosure of real interest in the common good:
    May those that love us, love us. And those that don't love us, May God turn their hearts; And if He doesn't turn their hearts, May he turn their ankles; So we'll know them by their limping.

    Old Irish, found everywhere. Look up Irish limping. Then, look at your Congresspeople. Who staggers.

    ...............................................................................

    FN 1 On the way, declare that only human individual entities enjoy freedom of speech. Corporations, groups, no. All group or corporate speech, if it is to be protected, has to be in the name of an individual.

    Financing. Only those eligible to vote by virtue of being a human being can contribute to any cause. Thus, all groups or corporations seeking to influence an outcome can only contribute in the name of an individual.

    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    Strict Constructionism and Abortion: The Conservative Ideological Dilemma.

    The Perils and Necessity of Extrapolation.


    Moral matters such as abortion, or gay issues, may be briefly noted in texts; or not at all.
    Do we add language or not, to explain, or enforce.


    1. People who like the extrapolation, call it revelation, dogma, claim it is close to strict construction of the idea.

    2. People who don't like the extrapolation, call it misguided, heretic, disrespectful, self-serving and activist.

    Example: where scripture is silent on third party intervention in a moral issue,
    who is to say what to do.

    Comments - We hesitate to publish emails with individual names signed, but appreciate the interest and support. This topic takes more working out, and who has time to edit; but its bones look sound. Will do best efforts to condense. Many have said this helps bridge the gap in understanding differences among conservative, progressive, liberal, libertarian approaches, thought processes.
    .
    I. Extrapolation and the Lesson of the Lighthouse.

    A. What is extrapolation.

    One, two, three, extrapolate. What is extrapolation? Anything done or said or written that is not in an original text is an extrapolation. If you like the extrapolation, call it revelation, or a teaching, or make it dogma, say it furthers the original idea, or some such

    If you do not like it, call it misguided, activist, tainted, self-serving, or aggrandizing the institution, self-serving, at the expense of the original idea.

    If you have basically conservative ideas, you may want to say your viewpoint is "strict constructionism." If you are more liberal, you may want to say your viewpoint is "pragmatic" and relevant to today's needs. The conservative would then call the liberal "activist." The liberal would then call the conservative an "ideologue."

    Let the games begin. What happens to that degree of predictability when there is no original text addressing the point.
    .

    B. The Lesson of the Lighthouse.

    What causes Extrapolation issues to arise? Why extrapolate? Consider this lighthouse, at Urk, The Netherlands. The original design provided for this lighthouse to serve a purpose: to warn fishermen that the island is Here.

    Time passes. Dykes are built. Land reclaimed. Suddenly this lovely lighthouse is extraneous. There it is, on a stubby peninsula - busy, commercial, no island at all. Nothing to warn of at all. But the light still goes on. Things changed around it. The old text directions about put a lighthouse Here, are irrelevant to the new need - which is for other than an inland lighthouse. What to do. What parts of heritage are disposable. How to discern.

    Extrapolate. Add in what is logical: if the lighthouse is not needed, you can tear it down. Or use it to sell souvenirs.

    To some, that would be heretic. To others, common sense. Extrapolation is messy.

    C. Lessons on Extrapolation and Religious or Moral Laws
    EXTRAPOLATION MAN!

    Move from old lighthouses to moral laws. Extrapolation is necessary whenever a text about morality leaves a loophole, or instructions in case of new circumstances. Even if the text said, Do Not Change This Lighthouse, would sensible people pay attention all the time, no exceptions? Here, the extrapolation says: this lighthouse is useless, but a reminder of things past, and tourists like Urk because they don't need a boat any more to get to this old fishing place.

    Other examples where extrapolation can sneak in: there is an unexplained term. Or a later culture;s value-promoters want to implement a specific punishment to something that had no punishment before. The first idea was, don't do it; but there was no mechanism to force people not to do it. That means we need --
    EXTRAPOLATION MAN!

    Many moral issues are clearly stated in people's religious texts. Others are not. What happens next is extrapolation. enforcement is silent.

    Where a culture wants to enable third parties to intervene and enforce a penalty, followers who come later are left with the job of filling in the gaps that a Founder left, The followers then decide for the organization what and how to implement. Enter, enforcement, and interpretation.

    That means extrapolation - adding to text. Apply to the Constitution, religious issues, any set of rules.

    Those who like the particular extrapolation are happy to see it become dogma, defined as "revelation" or otherwise adopted. Those who do not like it, call it heretic, or "activist" or misquided. Where Founders are silent as to any authorization for third parties to intervene in someone else's moral decision, problems arise: it takes more problems with meetings and committees and conventions to hammer out what will be interpreted how, and who can do it, whether it should be done, who, when, how, why.

    ,
    Knowing that process, add back this choice: Don't extrapolate. Resist the temptation.

    When is it best to leave moral decisions to our fellow citizens and residents, No third party intervention or enforcement in abortion is authorized by any scripture, as far as we see so far. Stay with the no extrapolation.

    This topic necessarily shares boundaries with religious, political, and cultural issues. The approach here is essentially secular, however. How much involvement must we build in from governing bodies, in order to live together.

    D. Approaches.

    It appears that many conservatives espouse the interpretation method of strict construction as a way of minimizing government involvement in people's lives. It has been applied to Constitutional issues.

    Strict construction has become a rallying cry in itself - the technique of strict construction morphs into an ideology - an ism - strict constructionism. If the Founders addressed an issue, we return to that wording, and leave it at that. People are free to do as they like, within ordinary contract boundaries, for example, in any area not specified by the Founders. If a matter is not covered, leave it uncovered. No interpretation needed. Leave it out. Is that accurate?

    An alternative to strict construction is interpretation: Interpretation sees an issue that is uncovered, and wants to cover it.

    2. So we have choices: We can move from that rationale of strict construction, see problems related to cultural and religious issues, such as abortion, and extrapolate what to do.

    3. Then we need a base line for the extrapolation. The obvious place to start in moral areas is a people's history of religious texts, or all the peoples' collective history of religious texts. What did the originator say, specifically. Nothing there? What so strict constructionists do then?

    4. Western Christian Scripture? It appears that scripture does not specifically authorize third party intervention in abortion - it mentions other transgressions and includes enforcement; but not for abortion. Indeed, abortion is not mentioned as a problem of inducement at all. See Vetting Roots, Early Christian Writings on Abortion.

    There are other writings from the time that decry abortion but those were rejected from the canon, writings by some mainstream orthodox Paulian-minded Christians, and some by those later called heretic: Gnostics, others; and Jewish Christians, whose efforts to challenge the Roman sect failed. See Vetting Roots, Trial of an Abortion Vigilante.

    5. Now, with the current crime where a Vigilante killed an abortion practitioner, Dr. Tiller, those issues become relevant in a new way.

    How to assess the merits of a scriptural basis claim, if someone or some g roup supports the Vigilante and wants to cite scripture in support of his possible view that the deity wanted someone to kill Dr. Tiller (if he did - a suspect is in custody, no charges yet, facts coming out piecemeal). And that the homicide is justified in that or other ways because a) the State is immoral in refusing to criminalize abortion, and b)the Vigilante is moral in taking care of the issue himself.


    6. Forming a moral rule under those circumstances is a challenge for any conservative thinker. If there is no clear base line in scripture for the specific abortion issue, the conservative must extrapolate from whatever he can find, in order to arrive at a moral rule about abortion. This is also true for any area of human behavior where there is no specific prohibition, so people have to cobble together various references and surmises.

    7. Is any extrapolation "Activism". Activism can come in the guise of revelation, perhaps, or any addition to original words as best we find tham. One person's revelation is another's opportunity to set up a marketing scheme. Look at the phenomenon of Medjugorje pilgrimage site in Bosnia - the Church disavows any miracle there. But the people still flock, believing in the "revelation" taught there.

    How to determine revelation from hype. Whose dream controls? Could we even say that any dogma or decree or bull or opinion or teaching that veers from what was specifically stated as required in scripture is Activism? Extrapolation? That is a problem for the abortion issue. A strong prohibition with enforcement built in takes a huge leap of extrapolation.

    Extrapolate on that. If it is routine to extrapolate in religiom, then why not be an activist with the Constitution as well. Extrapolate away. If it is good enough for the religious, it is good enough for the secular, is that so?

    And to extrapolate is to add words and ideas that are not there - and that is Activism. How to tell if the extrapolator is continuing to serve the original Idea by expanding it to meet a new situation, and when is he advancing his own agenda.

    The method, extrapolation, that must be used where there is no clear mandate for intervening at all, may be incompatible with political ideology. The strict constructionist needs extrapolation to get what he wants. If he wants to intervene in other people's deepest most difficult decisions, he needs to be an activist to do that because scripture leaves the issue out.

    8. If language cannot bridge the gap between the Idea and the Institution's use of it, skip all religious references. Look to education, scientific information, to get as much familiarity with all aspects of the issue to all the people before asking them to decide. No more religious absolutes. Nobody will agree on absolutes. Give the underlying information about the developing physique, mental awareness, sensory development. We can make progress here.

    If we stay with language, then follow the money and control. Which interpretations further the concepts in the Founder's Idea in earliest texts; and which extrapolations further an individual's or group's desire for power over others. Silence is intentional.

    Skip the labeling of extrapolations as strict construction or activist. Neither is a pure concept,

    Permission to Amend.

    Did any original text specify that there were to be no further additions or comments to it? What is the effect of what is proposed by each side. Control, forcing people to accept this interpretation or that in a moral decision, is unacceptable activism. FN 1

    .........................................................

    FN 1. This takes working out. The idea that abortion law rationales are this circular - not easy. But it does help explain why we are getting nowhere with the intervention angle. Conservatives have to become liberal in order to justify it. Intervention takes extrapolation.
    • Extrapolation, not Activism.
    So far: To arrive at a moral rule, where a clear one is lacking in Founding documents, can we avoid the pejoratives.



    If extrapolation continues to serve, expand upon, the original idea. there may be no objection. An extrapolation can also serves the personal interest of the extrapolator - politics, lucre, whatever. Who is to say which is which. At some point, the extrapolation becomes "activism." But some degree of extrapolation is always needed if there is no direct statement on point. How else is someone to fully explain the reasoning? The gray areas are overwhelming.

    Surmise in both cases, but a different motivation, effect.Then, if surmise about what a deith wants, for those addressing ideology, it becomes more complex. For centuries people have done battle over what each thinks the deity wants.
    • Hwaet. Extrapolation. Activism. Neither fits "strict construction". If we can extrapolate in finding moral laws against abortion, when nothing is mentioned in scripture, and that in itself is a kind of activism. and conjecture and later opinions that do not always agree after all, then we can use activism in all areas of our life - including the Constitution.
    Activism and extrapolation suddenly becomes a conservative value if a conservative wants to find a moral law where none is written. There has to be extrapolation.

    Look - the conservative jurors are nodding - they are interested in an analysis of all these terms. Nobody explained it to them before. Cable Right gets apoplexy. And then the issue becomes whether the activist is extrapolating to further the aim of an original idea, or merely advancing one's own agenda. Always a talking point.
    • Strict Constructionism.
    Or, to arrive at a moral rule, we can be strict constructionists. The strict constructionist approach is to leave an issue where Founders left it.

    If the Founders said nothing, we leave it at that. No penumbra, no nothing. If out then, it is out now. A true conservative would look at what the Founders did or did not do about abortion, and let it stay there. No third party involvement, no mention, leave it to the people involved and the deity..
    • Hwaet again. We are at the same result either way. Whether activist or strict constructionist, the result is the same: leave abortion out of the public view. No third parties involved in the decision. Provide the health setting, the care, and good, attractive choices elsewhere (daycare, adoption, etc), and everybody go home..
    So, noone has been able to lay out a workable law against it and for enforcement in a way that does not cause greater evils. See history. And that's they way it is.
    .
    This also applies to gay and lesbian activities - narrow construction of the little bits about it do not lead to the "activist" result that it is all so heinous. Strict constructionism would have to let the issue be: a circumstance to deplore, some would say, but no authorization to intervene. Let the issue be. Just don't tell that you use The Position. Who's to know?

    Back to abortion and Dr. Tiller.

    Perhaps this Vigilante never considered those finer points of reasoning; , and was simply persuaded, revved up over time by inclination plus other people and groups. Memes began to fly a decade ago.

    So he started off small, then joined with others who want something their way regardless. Extremism attracts extremism. Mutual feeding frenzies. Is there a pattern of acting out here. Connections with other groups. Wait and see. Ideologies can do that. Take over, in a sense. See Fear the Follower. Is fear of ideological followers a legitimate concern, with sophisticated communications techniques and marketing so much of our culture?
    .
    Higher moral order: Did the Vigilante really think through his higher moral order, and what his actions meant? Possible, perhaps, in some form; but see how any good points in his value system are negated by the terrorism in getting there. Societal sabotage. Too much testosterone here? Something else askew?

    And how do conservatives get from strict constructionism to a moral rule that allows third party intervention and enforcement of something not prohibited in scripture - a whopper of extrapolation is required. Activism. The new conservative value. Big government restricts people. Little government leaves people alone. Take your pick, but be consistent.

    The wise choice: Leave the issue be. Use scientific information to educate everyone about every aspect of the process, the development, the sensory stage, the shape. Common sense may emerge. The Founders back then knew what they were doing in that area. There are no answers, so leave the people to their issues, in their own fear and trembling. Even their disregard, if that is the way it is. The alternative is chaos.