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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy 2013: Roll Another One... Just Like The Other One

Dear Colorado and Washington,

Thank you for making 2012 a little more bearable. Don't bogart that activism, my friends!

(P.S. I want to thank "Anonymously, please" for a generous donation.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sandy Oh Sandy: Rorschach Vulgarity (And A Critique)

Superstorm Sandy

Whenever something really, really bad happens, it is nearly unavoidable that it be vulgarized into a national Rorschach test onto which our pet concerns are projected. Our two recent Sandys - Hurricane & Hook - serve to illustrate this somewhat lamentable fact.

With Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy, we have the context of global climate change, in which human-caused global warming proponents and deniers alike find nuggets of talking points to advance their respective world-views. Some of us see it as an important signifier - if not outright proof - of the ongoing damage, others seize on the fact that it is indeed not "proof," and so proceed somewhat illogically that it is somehow "proof" of the opposite.

This is a matter for natural science, and for all of the ambiguity that human psychology can and does assign to its manifestation, it is remarkably sparse terrain compared with the tangled forest we are presented with when dealing with a sociological "superstorm" like Sandy Hook.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

President Clinton Redux


Update 02/09: ‘Generalissima Clinton’ Expands the Empire

Hillary is Running: A Dispatch from the Saban Forum, posted by David Remnick atThe New Yorker:
Hillary Clinton is running for President...
It's now less than four years before Election Day (I know, it just runs up on you!), so it is of course incumbent upon us to get deep and serious about the fielding of our next Presidential candidate. (Democratic candidate, of course, since the Republicans are pretty much toast - at least in the short run, right? - and Hisself must pass the baton.)

Sarcasm aside, the seeds of "conventional wisdom" are indeed being sown, and the probability of another Clinton run at he presidency is a (long-) germinating meme, and it deserves some consideration, certainly, at least, in the throwaway forum of faux-journalism that is the blogosphere. It is getting such consideration, so here we are.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Climate Change Nihilism, Dominionist Hubris, And A Word About Radicalism

Earth Burns

Chris Hedges has another post on climate change up at truthdig, with the the appropriately wrought title "Stand Still for the Apocalypse." The substance of the article is familiar territory for me and readers of this blog ("We have already passed the tipping point..."), and yet it has spun me into reverie - critical thinker that I am - on humanism, nihilism, Dominionism, radicalism... I'm going to excerpt from the article here, focusing on the "nits" that I wish to pick - please keep in mind that I'm doing a fairly narrow criticism here, and this criticism, along with the excerpts that I select do fair violence to what is otherwise a fine article, so yes, please click through read the whole thing. Hedges (my emphases):

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Twisting Of The American Mind III: Kicking The Can And Whistling Past The Graveyard

Triumph of Evil

...The liberal class clung desperately during the long nightmare of this political campaign to one or two issues, such as protecting a woman’s right to choose and gender equality, to justify its complicity in a monstrous evil. This moral fragmentation—using an isolated act of justice to define one’s self while ignoring the vast corporate assault on the nation and the ecosystem along with the pre-emptive violence of the imperial state—is moral and political capitulation. It fails to confront the evil we have become.


“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction,” [James] Baldwin wrote, “and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.
- Chris Hedges,
Death of the Liberal Class

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Twisting Of The American Mind II: Black Helicopters Vs. American Eagles

Predator Drone
American Eagle soars lovingly over a protected world, captured by Kirsty Wigglesworth - AP. From The Guardian

Update: Link to Part 5 of The Archdruid's speculative odyssey added below.
As an "American," one is simply not permitted to entertain the simple thought experiment of considering what U.S. policy looks like to non-Americans. Any attempts to do so in what is considered "polite" cocktail chatter is sure to invite angry, accusatory, even eliminationist backlash.

It is easy to demonstrate....
- Me,
The Twisting Of The American Mind: Shorter Noam & The Patriot's Toll
It is save to assume and predict that reactions to this might also serve as "demonstration":
The United Nations is to set up a dedicated investigations unit in Geneva early next year to examine the legality of drone attacks in cases where civilians are killed in so-called "targeted" counter-terrorism operations...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Capitalism Corrupts Absolutely: The Caution Of Thomas Jefferson

Master of the Mountain
Jonathon Yardey reviews Henry Weincek's book, Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves at Truthdig ("The Revolutionary Refused the Torch").

If anything clarifies the corruption that a culture that extols capital accumulation brings, it is this remarkable tale of, of all people, the writer of the Declaration of Independance: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." (all emphases mine):

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Twisting Of The American Mind: Shorter Noam & The Patriot's Toll


...The events of October 1962 are widely hailed as Kennedy’s finest hour. Graham Allison joins many others in presenting them as “a guide for how to defuse conflicts, manage great-power relationships, and make sound decisions about foreign policy in general.”

In a very narrow sense, that judgment seems reasonable. The ExComm tapes reveal that the president stood apart from others, sometimes almost all others, in rejecting premature violence. There is, however, a further question: How should JFK’s relative moderation in the management of the crisis be evaluated against the background of the broader considerations just reviewed? But that question does not arise in a disciplined intellectual and moral culture, which accepts without question the basic principle that the U.S. effectively owns the world by right, and is by definition a force for good despite occasional errors and misunderstandings, one in which it is plainly entirely proper for the U.S. to deploy massive offensive force all over the world while it is an outrage for others (allies and clients apart) to make even the slightest gesture in that direction or even to think of deterring the threatened use of violence by the benign global hegemon.
- Noam Chomsky -
The Week the World Stood Still
So writes the "subversive" and "un-American" Noam Chomsky, in one of the more accessible paragraphs in his essay, originally hosted at

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Modest "Big TOE"*

Petri Dish Mold
Random petri dish image discovered at Wiggy's Words of Wisdom

(Post title a reference to - and yes, a dig at - Thomas Campbell's My Big TOE*)
[Biological systems] are sustainable, each organism exhibiting bounded growth up to an optimum size. (Yes, yeast can't handle vats of concentrated sugar-water without a population explosion followed by collapse, but then vats of concentrated sugar-water are not their natual habitat—or anyone else's!)
- Dmitry Orlov, In Praise of Anarchy, Part II
As I sit here in Phoenix reading Dmitry, head baking in the sunny climate of the Arizona Kookocracy, it all comes together - a Big Theory of Everything. OK, not everything, but a nonetheless a sizeable chunk of all things political, sociological and bacteriological.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Marc Maron And Raymond Lambert On Contemporary Racism

Maron & Lambert

Above find a short clip from this Monday's WTF podcast from Marc Maron. It's focused on a segment of his talk with comedy club operator Raymond Lambert (some excerpted quotes below). Catch the whole show (with, incidentally, much better audio quality than the clip), which includes Ali LeRoi and John Davies, on the making of Phunny Business: A Black Comedy. Here's the link: Episode 322 - Phunny Business
Lambert: If there was a broken bottle in the street - which we had absolutely nothing to do with - we would get blamed for that broken bottle being out there. So we had to clean the street for one block. When we left, at the end of the night, we examined the whole street.

Maron: you were always conscious of the fact, that if something goes down, in a one mile radius of a black owned business, the whole community's going to get blamed for it.

Lambert: You need to be thinking about it.
Also, catch Raymond's take on the special... ah... circumstances in which a Black President is situated.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Creationism By Any Other Name: Decrying Intelligent Design, McIntosh Sells It Anyway

Un-inspirational Poster
Image from Understanding Creationism, another unscientifically aspirational site

Steve McIntosh, in an essay promoting his book, Evolution's Purpose: An Integral Interpretation of the Scientific Story of Our Origins:
...the stark facts of the ubiquitous evolution of everything point nonetheless to a universe with a purpose.
That is a hell of an assertion, and it reveals more of the structure and inclination of human thought than of the objective reality thought struggles to observe.

Monday, September 17, 2012

#Occupy Under Assault: One Year Later

Zucotti Tent City
Seth Wenig / AP - Image from

One year and a day ago, I posted that we might best be shunning the money changers, and the day after that, on September 17th 2011, I updated that post with my first "dispatch" on the #Occupy phenomenon.

#OccupyWallStreet (#Occupy, #OccupyEverywhere) has been assaulted, inexorably smeared and ridiculed. And it continues - The AP weighs in with this, disingenuously headlined by CBS News as One year later: Occupy in disarray but spirit lives on:
(AP) NEW YORK - Occupy Wall Street began to disintegrate in rapid fashion last winter, when the weekly meetings in New York City devolved into a spectacle of fistfights and vicious arguments.
William Rivers Pitt, at truthout (I Will Occupy):

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Anxiety And Happiness: A Case For Economic Equality

Futurama Nibbler
Image lifted from The Scribbler

For a good chunk of my adult life, I enjoyed an extravagant income. I come from humble economic beginnings (to which I have now returned, in spades, to understate the matter, to direct your attention to the donation button to your right, to humbly point out that I am rather diligent and industrious when it comes to, say, washing dishes... Bueller?), so what I consider "extravagant" is perhaps modest when compared with your standard American Ambition. Given the state of the actual majority of Americans - not to mention the global population - it was not really modest at all, but this post is about comparative wealth, so it is worth noting.

How extravagant? With nary a thought to be given to them, the basic needs of nutrition, shelter and clothing were covered. What was left over was enough that to triage the remaining pleasures of acquiring material goods (electronics, media) vs. the most wasteful indulgences of the social pleasures (jovial nightly parties and/or pub sessions with fine companions) was more of an exercise of amusement than serious budgeting. The greedy "virtue" of hoarding (savings) was thankfully never a bee in my bonnet, so I was spared at least that particular worry.

A good life.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Capitalism Incentivizes - Rather, Commune With Your Heart

Paul Newman exemplifies education in Cool Hand Luke

The Profit Motive

Many well-meaning people - especially here in the United States, the "shining city on the hill" of capitalist doctrine - see the profit motive as the prime motive for human activity.

The Invisible Hand of free markets is seen, in turn, as the arbiter of balance in the capitalist doctrine. Depending on one's proclivities, it is tantamount to a manifestation of God's will, a fundamental law of physics like entropy, or a force of ecological equilibrium, a Gaian thermostat.

To adopt these as fundamental truths gives rise to the prominent ills of our day, ills of Biblical proportions. And, because of the acceptance of the profit motive as an a priori aspect of human nature, these ills are dismissed as necessary correctives, reigned down from above upon those of us who fail to recognize our "true" nature, we retrograde blasphemers of received wisdom, we who fail to hold up our end of the deal in the beautiful machinery of achievement and progress, we who receive instead the holy correctives of the meritocracy we so arrogantly, and impotently, spurn.

Friday, August 3, 2012

O Puerile Meme: "But What Do They Want?"

Futurama Nibbler
Image purloined from futurama fan art & scans

While going through my weekly ration of hate comments, including a veiled death threat, from my ultra-left readers, I wondered what they expect if their actions—or inaction—result in the defeat of President Barack Obama.

How will they feel on election night and the arrival of four years of Mitt Romney and maybe four years after that?
So goes the lede in Bill Boyarsky's Anti-Obama Animus on the Left Reaches Hysterical Proportions.

Ah, the "lesser of two evils" complaint. A cliche that, like all cliches, contains that sand of truth that nourishes and escorts a simple idea into hoary old age. The nugget of knowledge acknowledging, at the very least, that it is indeed evil that we are talking about here.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Limousine Liberals Score Another Big Tax Break

Mr. & Ms. Bezos
AP, from Guardian UK

I support the same-sex marriage push as an important civil-rights issue of our time. If I were more widely read, I would probably remain mum on the Amazon CEO's hefty donation to the cause:
Jennifer Cast, a former Amazon employee who is a lesbian and the volunteer finance co-chair for Washington United for Marriage, emailed Jeff Bezos Sunday asking him to donate between $100,000 and $200,000 to the effort...

Cast received a reply Tuesday night, that said: "Jen, this is right for so many reasons. We're in for $2.5m. Jeff & MacKenzie."
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos pledges $2.5m to same-sex marriage in Washington

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Seer Will Sneer, But It's Merely In Fear: An Existential Meditation Of Species

Frederick Sandys Cassandra
Image of Cassandra purloined from Pre Raphaelite Art

One strives to be realistic.

The fates of Cassandra, in her various incarnations in mythology, all resolve around an inevitable descent into madness, borne of the unnatural gift of prophecy. Perhaps "unnatural" is unfair, since it appears that prophecy is as ubiquitous as is the psychic self-immolation of madness itself.

In this age of Cassandras-come-lately (as ironic as that may sound, one can't help but notice the ahistorical cacophony of the various perceptions and assessments of just what is going on right now,) I am struggling with a rather infantile but compelling thought-experiment: With all that I now think that I understand about the limits and consequences of the boom of the last few centuries, unleashed by the obscene ease with which we unearthed and harnessed eons of ancient sunlight, what if, with that knowledge and certainty of the end of such folly, I were to find myself back in time?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Privatization Of Socialism: The Great Insurance Scam

Upside Down Girl
A larger view of this delightful image can be found at the church of facebook

Socialism and "privatization" (the Holy Grail of Libertarian Capitalism) are typically seen as the disparate bi-polar destinations of economic philosophy. At least this is so in the infantile discourse presented to us by politics and in media, the primary endeavor of these forces being to both represent and shape the countenance of "popular opinion." Regardless of which end of this false spectrum our sympathies lie, most of us tend to give a nod to this manufactured choice in our contemplations and discussions. But given a little time and some careful de-contextualization, perhaps we can can understand the question differently.

Quickly: One is a natural manifestation, and the other is borne of ideology.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Living Religion XI: Beauty Is Found In Shoddy Truth - How We Look Away And Impoverish Ourselves


If you do not follow somebody you feel very lonely. Be lonely then. Why are you frightened of being alone? Because you are faced with yourself as you are and you find that you are empty, dull, stupid, ugly, guilty and anxious - a petty, shoddy, secondhand entity. Face the fact; look at it, do not run away from it. The moment you run away fear begins. ~J. Krishnamurti
Krishnamurti's "style" of presentation can be mercilessly negative. If I am to quote him, as I've done here, I can easily sense the unwelcome tone to his message, and it brings me to wonder just why I continue to be attracted to such an "inefficient" manner of proselytization. Is there a value in it, intrinsic to what appears to be a pre-emptively self-defeating vehicle for having a conversation?

Something Better

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Once Again, Supreme Court Blesses The Ever-Ongoing Corporate Takeover Of America

Corporate Takeover

The "right" is sorely pissed off at the Supreme Court this morning, especially that "intellectual" branch of righties known as Libertarians.

This sends a clear signal, of course, to the professional "left" in this country that all is well in the checks-and-balances charade that our government has become.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

To All Of My New-Age-y Friends: With All Due Respect, Please Wake Up

Jetson's Wannabes
For example, this is stupid.

I once noted, to a friend, that those of the New-Age persuasion are friends of the Earth, and therefore are certainly friends of mine. However...

The Archdruid makes a point this week, and I wish to amplify it, because that's what blogs are for after all. (Ignore the fact that I have hundreds of readers to his tens of thousands. It's rather rude to point that out, isn't it?)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Everything Is Monetized, Shut Up And Get Used To It!


Guest post by groo, culled from the comments at Ian's place.

Now what is a bank?

The holder of deposits and lender of credit en par?

This was not even true 300 years ago.

In an ideal case, the "bank" is an arbitrageur between a holder of temporary surplus and a creditor of temporary deficit, plus a risk premium.

Never true.

Pious lie. No. Not pious. The pepper-sacks already were notorious cheaters.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

You Are A Terrorist Sympathizer. Get Used To It.

"Terrorist Raid" from Brazil

I don't know if they were planning on making Molotov cocktails.

Most reports of the preemptive raid in Chicago last Wednesday night claim that "beer-making equipment" was confiscated from a Bridgeport (Chicago) apartment.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Empathy, Projection, Interpersonal Fragmentation And Dream Entities

I had a dream early this morning. Without getting into the details (which, for the most part, are quite difficult to recall, or to relate in the linear modality required for communication and, in any case, would bore the listener/reader to tears), I shall relate its denouement.

I was standing at an archetypical concrete mall, facing a great building - an historic courthouse or some-such, and an historically great man* was a few paces away from me, gazing up at facade. It was a sentimental and triumphant look, as this man was returning after many years of exile and was about to re-enter this familiar place, where his greatness had long ago been established.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dispatch From Colombia: Fear And Greed

Burning U.S. Passport
Image found at

[Note: This is a guest post derived from a message I received from my good friend Sylvanus (aka Edgar Cave) Urbanus, triggered by the virally spreading resignation letter by ex-ex director Greg Smith of Goldman Sachs. Click through to read Senor Urbanus' contribution from last fall, Dispatch From Colombia: Another Ex-Pat Speaks Out.]

So, Mr. Smith leaves in a flurry hacking at the branches of evil, but does not even come close to striking a single root! The good old "change of heart" that Orwell detested so deeply. What is the root that Mr. Smith missed with his axe, assisted by the NYT? I have a feeling that it is all anchored in fear. Fear of what? The fear of becoming poor. The deep hatred and fear of the poor in America is at the core of its cultural rot. This reality fully came home to me while living in Colombia.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Turn, Turn, Turn: The Shaming

I Disapprove

[Update: From The Guardian:
[Occupy Wall Street activist Jeff] Smith saw the op-ed in part as illustrating the success of Occupy's impact on the public impression of the finance industry. "If there is shame, if there is guilt starting to emerge in these guys, that's Occupy Wall Street's contribution..."

Last mid-September, I posted an essay entreating us all to begin a shaming process upon the mongers of finance (Shunning The Money Changers, - September 16, 2012 - unbeknownst to me at the time, Day 1 of #OccupyWallStreet):
...There are few things more powerful than shunning that will dissuade undesirable behavior. When it comes to the money changers, we have made a terrible mistake.


There are few more soulless endeavors in the world than making money from money. While I certainly have problems with capitalism in general, I am not talking about the bankers who provide capital to kick-start or expand businesses - I am talking about the Masters Of The Universe who frenetically shift money from one place to the next, their eyes only upon maximum profit, even if that profit comes at the expense of others.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Andrew "The Rorschach" Breitbart

Trailer for Hating Breitbart

I've got no obit for Mr. Breitbart - it's all been said and anyone who has a passing acquaintance with me could accurately write it for me anyway.

I just found my reaction fascinating to the trailer for the upcoming mockumentary... dammit, sorry... documentary Hating Breitbart. To me, it looked like the preview for a hit piece on the man.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Dismal Science: #Occupy And Economic Alternatives To Capitalism

Gilded Age

This interview of Gar Alperovitz, author of America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy, by Richard Wolff at Truthout, Economic Alternatives To Capitalism is worth a read/listen.

Discussed are, of course, alternatives to free-market capitalism with its usual considerations of the ownership of capital, and some important points about ideological rigidity against anything that smacks of "socialism," and how new, yes, "socialist" arrangements are popping up organically in this country under pressure of the failures that our current brand of market worship is bringing us.

There are some good points in there about how to talk about these things in the face of the very effective propaganda that has equivalenced "socialism" with "Stalinism" in the American mind. The inference I got was that these "ways of talking about it" are crucial, in the interviewer's and author's minds, to adopting these alternate systems.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Living Religion X: Benefficiency And The Blinking Red Self-Bullshitting Meter

The Botany of Desire

(I'm pleased to include this essay in my much-neglected Living Religion series, last entry having been made nearly 5 years ago.)

How (and why) I judge myself is an excellent and precious marker on how (and why) I judge all of you people.

I feel guilty because I don't have a job right now. I'm a "looter" - not on society in general because I live in Arizona and it will be a cold day in, well, Arizona before this state gives up any benefits to the likes of me. I'm a looter of my family, at the moment.

Intellectually, I know this is a wrong feeling. I know this because whenever I imbibe huge amounts of psychedelics and cocoon into my isolation tank and wake up naked and smeared with blood next to the steaming carcass of a zoo animal...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An Earthworm's Portion Of Fate: Love, Work, And Dissent

Occupy Hazmat

Excerpted from a must-read piece by Phil Rockstroh at Common Dreams, Love, Work, and Dissent in a Time of Hazmat Suits and Political Hypochondria:
Mortified by [individuals engaged in the messiness of life], authoritarian personality types are obsessed with the fantasy of scouring (a panopticon/predator drone mode of mind) life of all disorder. Not only making the trains run on time but demanding that the passengers on said trains psyches be cleansed of impure thoughts…sanitized for their protection, then covered in a sort of societal prophylactic plastic to safeguard the principles of societal propriety--in short, have the populace rendered Body Bag People....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chris Hedges Responds To Curious Critic J.A. Myerson

Oakland Violence
Image from Washington Post's blog Post

J.A. Myerson, at truthout, gives Chris Hedges a call and asks some provocative questions regarding his criticism of the Black Bloc.

Two things I take away from this. One, is that Mr. Hedges is an emotionally committed pacifist who dares not call himself one (excerpts):
Myerson: seems like part of your objection to black bloc tactics is less strategic-tactical than almost spiritual.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spring Is Near, And Let's Talk About #Occupy Violence

Oakland Violence
Image from Washington Post's blog Post

[Update: Morocco Bama at Ian's place provides a link to a clarifying talk by Harsha Walia on YouTube (1 of 3, all of which are embedded below, after the break).]

In the wake of Chris Hedges' controversial take-down (The Cancer in Occupy) of the Black Bloc "anarchist" phenomenon (why I use scare quotes), I've been engaged in conversation at blogs somewhat more popular than this one (apologies to TBogg, "a somewhat popular blogger").

I am generally come-down on the side of non-violence.

The Hedges piece referenced above is a pretty visceral take-down of the BB "anarchists":
The Black Bloc anarchists, who have been active on the streets in Oakland and other cities, are the cancer of the Occupy movement. The presence of Black Bloc anarchists—so named because they dress in black, obscure their faces, move as a unified mass, seek physical confrontations with police and destroy property—is a gift from heaven to the security and surveillance state...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Middle Class: A Question At The Rogue's Forum

Rosie McMaffrey's

Excerpted from my post in the comments thread at The Rogue Columnist: Can Liberalism Be Saved?
I've got a quibble, and I'll mention only partly to stir the pot: This "middle class" business, and the "saving" of it. (My adolescent dabblings with Marx's paradigm - not "Marxism" per se - have come 'round again.) I'm taking the liberty of conflating Jon's & Walter's posts, since they are to me of an harmonious piece.

"Into this bad mood, the necromancers of the American right conjure a Total Explanation: liberalism is to blame. It makes you share with people who are not like you. It tells you that you're no better than the street thugs jostling you in line."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Trundlin' Down The Road To Tempe

Running Dog of Capitalism

Posted from the Greyhound.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Marc Maron And The Great Steven Wright - WTF!

WTF with Marc Maron
Image found at WTF with Marc Maron
I listen to his podcasts religiously, and I think this is the third WTF that I've linked to here. I found Marc's interview with Steven Wright interesting, and particularly heartwarming in that trademark Maron fashion. Bonus: Wright comes in at the end and turns the tables, so we get to hear a rapid-fire rundown of Marc's career as Steven grabs the host mike.

America, This Is Your Brain On War

RT News: Video of US marines urinating on Taliban sparks outrage

Any questions?

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Rainbow Mandelbrot
Ain't it pretty?

I'm a bit distracted with an economically mandated return to the Phoenix area. My apologies for not writing much recently. I will return - in the meantime, keep dreaming of an #OWS spring. Clap harder, as they say (I joke I joke, I keed I keed.)