“There’s somethin’ happenin’ here

What it is ain’t exactly clear…

I think it’s time we stop, children,

What’s that sound

Everybody look what’s going down”  -Buffalo Springfield: “For What It’s Worth;” Lyrics- Stephen Stills

OWS.  Three letters that stand for a wildfire spreading across not just the United States, but, quite possibly, the world.  “Definition of OCCUPY: transitive verb 1.: to engage the attention or energies of ”

To engage the attention of, or energies of – whatever else may be said, and the media is falling all over themselves now to say things (after ignoring it all at first), the Occupy Wall Street, and Occupy [Somewhere] movements are indeed engaging the attention and energies of many people in our world of 7 Billion right now.

Some would demonize them as the great unwashed – a return of the 60’s – Woodstock, right in your own city.

Some would express high ideals and principles, which have not quite coalesced, and may never, into one discreet sound bite or set of talking points.

Others are simply puzzled.

In a year which literally began watching the Arab Spring spread across our big screens like a Santa Ana wildfire on steroids, glowing embers blowing in all directions, and is now shortly ending with the overthrow of governments throughout the Arab world, with Libya the latest to fall (and with Syria asking: just how many of its citizens it has to slaughter to get them to stop marching already!), we are facing a real modern media, especially social media, tsunami of human emotions and expressions.  Love it, hate it, or indifferent to it, something truly awesome is happening, like the wind blowing Fall leaves across a mountainside, creating ever-changing patterns of color as far as you can see.

I have written occasionally here since the Fall of 2008 about the increasing gulf between the rich and the poor over the last decades, and what that really might portend for us – there are now all kinds of government reports, economic studies and the like, which document how extreme this has become.  There is only so far that the gulf can widen, our history books tell us, before something has to give.  This observation has really nothing at all to do with Capitalism or Socialism – that is a red herring of a way of missing the whole point.

We have neither Capitalism nor Socialism in pure form anywhere, existing on our teeming planet these days.  If we did have pure Capitalism here, then what on earth do we call a situation where the government (read: taxpayers, like you and me) pay trillions to literally bail out our financial giants, who then become strong enough again to repay some of those bailout monies, but who do not thereafter share their new wealth with the very taxpayers whose money bailed them out in the first place, and without which they would no longer exist?  Heads I win, Tails you lose?!?  That’s one hell of a stupid investment for the US taxpayer – to share the losses, but not the profits?!?

Worse, after being bailed out by your tax dollars and mine, these same financial giants then go on to use their newly earned billions (not shared with the taxpayers who bailed them out and made it so they could live to earn another day) to hire armies of lobbyists to resist any urgently needed regulatory and legal changes to prevent the financial debacle of Fall 2008 from ever happening again – thus, assuring that it will happen again, and much worse this time.

Whatever Kool-Aid the Greek Government was drinking last week, to allow the 17-member European Union to finally agree to bail them out from their own corruption and over-spending, and then to decide to put the whole thing to a national vote, may derail last efforts or any rational chance of saving some of those European Member nations from financial meltdowns. And, if you really think that those financial meltdowns across the pond will not affect us here in America, then you haven’t been paying attention very well these last few years.

Global financial affairs are all inter-dependent – if you pull a thread, whole fabrics on many continents will unravel. And, we still have absolutely no idea how many dollars in toxic and bizarre financial instruments are still being held by our banks, or Europe’s banks – all we know is they keep pumping out trillions upon trillions of these weapons of mass financial destruction, which nobody could possibly repay, not now, not ever – and trading partners keep buying them.  Part of Greece’s problem and the banks who bet for, and against Greece’s financial system surviving, is all tied up in this incredible Gordian Knot of derivatives, credit default swaps (literally, betting on failure) and other exotic financial instrument gobbledygook dreamed up by Math Quants and ex-Physicists who wandered over to Wall Street back in the 90’s, when String Theory was getting a little stale, and who now all drive Ferraris out to their houses in the Hamptons on weekends.

OWS is a wake up and smell the coffee/flowers moment for the world.  It is not right or wrong; it simply IS.  It is the last desperate effort of people, millions of them, who feel they have been kicked through the goalposts of life and have nothing else to lose – the most dangerous situation possible.  Make fun of them at your peril.  None of this is about violence either – that’s the other media take on it all.  Be afraid of these people who are so suddenly visible – they are dirty, they are not like you and me, they are an invasion force.  No, they simply have nothing left to lose – and there are millions of them.  Like in the 60’s, fighting in the streets takes two sides to do the fighting.

The deplorable conduct of the Oakland Police recently, or the NYPD Officer who pepper-sprayed some innocent people simply for exercising their First Amendment Rights, is where 99% of the violence so far seen has come from.  And we should have learned by now that you cannot beat up, and thereby stop a movement of almost all peaceful people with nothing left to lose – Gandhi taught this a long time ago already.  Disparity between rich and poor in this country should never have been left to go this far or get this out of whack – some, like Bill Moyers in a recent speech, insist it was all carefully planned over the last 30 years.

Something is happening here – mock it; dismiss it; ignore it, or give it some careful consideration of exactly what is happening here – it’s a free country, right?