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Between the privacy of my thoughts and the words I choose to speak lay a boundary. Between the words I speak, as an aside to another, and the speech as made in the larger society of the office, place of recreation, or to a public assembly lay a boundary. And the curiosity of the millions of the consumers of Global Information lays on the far side of still yet another boundary

There is a boundary between the speech of those who are intimate and all others, as well as one between those who are family and the rest of the world. These are boundaries of personal relationships, but there are also boundaries of public space. For instance, there is a boundary between one's house and property and the Public Space and Civic concern, and yet another that divides the space we share in the streets of our community from those economic markets and social institutions that are the larger commons of our nation. These spaces and boundaries are spaces and boundaries open to negotiation. There are human demands of intimacy and so support these demands there are cultural social customs that assist us to negotiate these forms of communication.

And here is the Problem.

There is not one of these boundaries that at the outset of the 21st century that have not been ruptured by both corporate-commercial intrusion by data-mining as well as governmental surveillance for a kind of ever ongoing secret anti-democratic census that results in Watch-Lists and No-Fly Lists, and other even more chilling para-military pre-planning. 

And all of this has been accomplished behind closed doors by invisible ‘professionals’ who can shrug off the impact on human dignity by this state of total violation - a violation that strips  every man, woman and child of the boundaries by which human beings retain our dignity. Who asked for all this? Did anyone notice it happening? Non of this vast infrastructure was put in place over night. But is seems that we are to be ‘taken care of’, not ‘consulted’.

It is as if an un-elected secret elite of Watchers now stand, night and day, as nurses with clipboards, covertly observing a room full of children at play from an adjoining room behind a one-way glass mirror for some ever ongoing Scientific Test. Such a twisted re-interpretation of the words ‘Eternal Vigilance’ seems to have become a Magic-Spell that dissolves their intrusion into our basic humanity and caused it all to recede into the walls that surround us all in our homes and workplaces - like Muzak at the Mall. 

It is to this matter of boundaries we need to turn our attention.


441 words by  Leo Rivers, Cottage Grove, Monday, April 20, 2015 10:00:37 PM



We have two eyes, which allow us to have what's called parallax view. With two two eyes we can see the same thing in the distance from two different sides. This allows us to locate accurately an object in the distance. We each live in the community in which we have a home and employment and our friends and within a small nucleus of mutual support and love. We each live as the children of Earth. With the line of trade carrying goods and services in both directions all the way from China or Europe or Asia or South America we cannot help but share the same atmosphere the blow all over the Earth. Our oceans connect every shore. And the same sky shines over all of us. We are all homebodies and we are all global citizens - that is the parallax view you need to locate yourself and your family in the world of the 21st first century.

These are not opposing points of view. These two perspectives are like two strong legs you need to stand and move on, two hands by which you grab the tasks of your life. But national governments, when they shift from serving the needs of communities by serving as bridges to the world to serving the needs of powerful interests who stand to make a great deal of money in viewing the world as an economic battlefield, actually isolate us from opportunities in green growth and the economic possibilities available when we are in communication with the world

The religious texts of every nation are nothing less than attempts to give the individual the biggest picture they can have of a world in which the fate of the individuals are not only linked to the weal of the whole, but to the very stars above our constantly rolling sphere of the seasons. Our families and the world itself or the two eyes we look upon our world with. If either of them are put out is said that we have become blinded.

Leo Rivers, Cottage Grove. June 2, 2017  340 words


BOUNDARIES (THREE)                                      

You don't know from what background other people were born, what their life experiences have been, or how they were molded by the good and evil that befell them. However smart you are, or however proud you are of your heritage or belief system, when you look at a stranger the proportion of their truth that you see is just as insufficient as they see when they first cast their eyes on you.

This boundary of not knowing each other at all is an abyss and it is this division into which our world pours as if our world were an ocean on a great earthquake had opened a mighty crevasse down the middle between North and South and East and West.

I truly believe as HG Wells said "the World is on a race between Education and Catastrophe" - our Species has derived such Black Profit from Lies & Manipulation for so many centuries that any reality beyond the domination of one man by another seems small beer. It seems to me from watching the TV that idea of Hypotheses and Experiment Demonstrated Theory and the Peer Reviewed Understandings of Science posses less charm and capacity for suasion than a Political Bully’s shouted boast, and the ugly sexual excitement of a mob worked up with excitement and cruelty in the street.

Military Pride, the thrill of Attack, and powerful romance of feeling Wronged. We love best our Sad Songs, and rush with their banners undaunted by the prospect of ruining other people’s lives or our own World’s Destruction.

And why should anyone listen to Reason when the Apes are waving their Truncheons, and Hard Words have our Blood Boiling?

Look into the Abyss with me, and read a little History Lesson of 1914 and 1933. As a Democratic Socialist, Buddhist and Atheist I may be your idea of the perfect target for mockery - but Worlds can End, my friend. Wrong Minded Men and Women driven by Selfishness and the tickle of being thwarted in their Vanity and Enmity can end the World in a moment of passion. With the Exhaustion of the bounty of Eden, little respect for the Tree of Knowledge, and impatience with our lot - all these things conspire against the Prophet and hate the innocence of young Lovers.

Take a deep breath please. Think of your own Mortality and how much you depend on and must live with your Neighbors.

These boundaries that seem to divide us are also the places at which men of Good Will go when it is a Friend they seek.


428 words by Leo Rivers, , Cottage Grove, OR, 2:28 Am, 03/19/2016



What we do means more than what we say. Isn't that what parents are supposed to tell themselves when looking into the mirror after disciplining a son or daughter who made a poor choice in their behavior? Is there a boundary dividing what is good for the Goose from what is good for the Gander? If the FBI demands special backdoors in our cell phones and computers, don't we as citizens have the right to demand that we see the secret TTIP & TTP 1. trade agreements or the workings of our own government made behind closed doors? If we, the people, who elect those who speak for the US as a nation do not see anything wrong in them designating some bureaucratic paperwork,(drafted by unelected unknown men), sufficient legal process to designate citizens of other nations lawful targets of drone assassination, who are we to protest when we ourselves become a target? Who are we to protest the stationing of a division of the United States military on US soil 2. or the special powers of federal and metropolitan law enforcement to employ paramilitary tactics in civilian neighborhoods? After all, a United States Joint Forces Command publication of 2010 discusses the military role in context of natural disasters, radical ideologies, the problem of weak and failing states, and the globalization of terrorism, all of which could be applied to domestic crisis within the United States. Taken in this light a statement like “While the most important mission of the American military has been to fight and win the nation’s wars, the ability of U.S. forces to deter conflict has risen to equal footing.” 3. takes on a whole new meaning, one I think is actually uncontroversial! 

Folks who are accustomed to the habit of thinking in terms of the United States of America as being an expression of the humanist values of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights, folks who have a habit of thinking of the United States are being “all about the rights and dignity of the individual” - they are in for a shock! 

The globalization of economic, military and political interests on the part of every major nation state makes for a web of interconnected ‘incompatible sets of hopes and fears’ that 24-7 threatens to break up like melting ice under the continual covert struggle between those who govern those nation-states. In studying H.G. Wells, (the one most people don't know about, the one who believed that the world was on a race between education and catastrophe), my eyes were opened to just how much fear those who had education, a scientific background, and a global outlook felt when they looked out at the world on the advent of World War I and saw the arms producing nations of Europe becoming destabilized by secret treaties and a terrible fear that an other nation might get the jump on them. In 1910 this included Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Russia. There are now scores of nations playing The Great Game - all of which have secret treaties, are constantly in shifting covert alliance with others, all who through the mass-media, electronic surveillance, and para-militarization of the police all seem ready to view their own citizenry as a potential enemy nation. 

In this interconnected world, what will it look like if our World comes apart the way the world came apart in the first decades of the twentieth century? When there are no boundaries between nations and no boundaries between governance and those governed, what is to prevent a plague from sweeping across the entire face of the Earth?

1. (TTIP) Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership & (TTP) Trans-Pacific Partnership

2. See: Posse Comitatus Act.

3. [THE JOINT OPERATING ENVIRONMENT (JOE) Distribution Statement A: Approved for Public Release February 18, 2010,part IV, THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE JOINT FORCE, Sec1:60]


604 words by Leo Rivers, Cottage Grove, Oregon

Monday, February 29, 2016 9:10:43 PM


    I have been robbed by ghosts. I have been looking forward to The Festival of Eugene 2016 at the end of August because as a poet I was looking forward to, not just preforming at the Poetry Stage, but in that I had taken a class in TV production with CTV 29 Lane Community Public Access TV, I was eager to make a TV show of the Poetry Stage too. It was a big deal to me. Then yesterday I got an e-mail saying that it'd been canceled because the woman behind the Festival of Eugene had used the N-word on some blog and everything was ruined for everyone. I had no idea who she was or why she was important. I never saw her use the N-word myself. 

    My initial disappointment became instantly unhappy confusion. Someone e-mailed me that someone had told them that they had read on Facebook that the [alleged] N-Word user had been driven out of her house by threatening Facebook attacks and was in seclusion. There was no way to know who was attacking her due to Internet anonymity. But the mystery deepened in the white clouds of electrons of social media where she had used the N-word and turned the World against her.

    Racism is unacceptable. That makes sense to me. But I am confused. How could one use of the N-word destroy something I have been looking forward to and working hard to be part of for some months? Who was she and who were her accusers? I will never know. You see, all of this has the substance of ghosts and rumors to me. There was a rumor/hearsay she used the N-word, and the hearsay that her Internet Facebook site was hacked, so that it wasn't even her using the N-word after all. Maybe. She took down the site the day after. (hearsay) I heard she had fled for her life. (hearsay) I will never know who her accusers are - (fact) the trial by rumor and Internet storm has wiped away the Poetry Stage and the The Festival of Eugene 2016 like a ghost tornado that has wiped out a ghost town.

    Racism is part of the fabric, the very substance, of the American experience. But all uses of the N-word are not equal. There is a difference in racism between the look on someone's face when I tell them I am a Buddhist and a practitioner of what they think is a yellow man's religion, the racism of burning a cross on someone's lawn, and the racism of lynching a young black man who had his whole life ahead of him. And there is a spectrum in the substance of consequences to these various forms of racism - a spectrum properly reflected in a prioritized response beholden to individuals and groups.

    But the Internet is a storm of electrons - and hiding behind Internet anonymity, everyone is a ghost whose opinion is equal to a vanishingly small flicker of energy subject to Heisenberg quasi-reality. Today’s Opinion Poll is a fickle school of fish that changes its direction in the snap of a finger. Yet trial by Flash Mob of electrons can have absolute concrete reality in the real world without recourse to the depths given by a consideration of consequences, a wisdom come from experience, or the slow motion social deliberation of an actual trial where facts are presented and remain in the record tomorrow to be seen for oneself.

    I think Flash Mob Mind is no mind at all. And a Trial by Opinion in a Facebook page taken down the next day is an imprudent precedent for jurisprudence.

    My friends and I sometimes have fights. Then we don't talk. But finally, we miss each other and we sit down over coffee and go through the painful process of looking in the mirror of our friend’s eyes - and seeing where we were wrong, and where they were wrong, or maybe things just went wrong, and you can't blame anyone because sometimes things get bigger and get going faster than anyone really could ever control.

    Look at the Arab Spring. It was a joyous season of thawing and the hopes for freedom of millions with cell phones. But be warned! The Internet makes things seem to be real when they're not real. The Internet Spring gave birth to the Egyptian Nation State of today and the Nation State that Turkey is becoming. Public opinion is not just fickle, it is a whorehouse of self-centeredness where everyone sleeps around with their mouth, and then doesn’t ever have to suffer the consequences for the ghost deeds of angry ghosts. Ghosts! Gossip and Avatars. But real suffering happens anyway.

    If that woman said the N-word in front of me I would let her know I thought she was being a jerk. Then I would expect better from her as I let her do her job, because I think her giving an apology and then letting me put a poetry show on TV would be better than getting a text message telling me I no longer was employed by people I didn't even know and didn't even know I existed. I think Flash Mob Mind is no mind at all.

    Flash Mob Mind follows the impulses of Mob Mind. Leaders who arise to stoke the impulses of Mobs lead Mob Minds to Bad, Bad Places. Adolf Hitler chose the same kind of swastika Buddhists place on the Buddha’s brow as a mark of enlightenment to represent the Nazi Mob Mind. Mob Minds today rebuke me as a Buddhist for not respecting Hitler’s copyright of the swastika.

    I do not love [Flash] Mob Mind. 

Leo Rivers, Sunday, July 24, 2016 9:16:00 AM, Cottage Grove, Oregon



Whether you're looking out your window or watching the TV you see troubling things. As I turned 67 on the fourteenth I am speaking as someone who has personally experienced the Cuban missile crisis, the Watergate hearings, the 9/11 and the Iraq war and the rise of the crack cocaine and opioid crisis as well as the loss of jobs overseas and hope at home, with all the accompanying sadness of the ability of individuals to set communities on fire with machine guns and trucks used as battering rams to drive the message of their nihilism home. There are almost certainly rough waters just ahead. There will be shocks and a new normal in high uncertainty. But listen to me as neighbors in my community please.

There's an old saying that rather than covering the world with leather it is better to wrap your feet in leather, and likewise for troubled times the best shoes to put on in the morning is goodwill towards all.

It is not the time to spend every cent you make or can borrow on toys or vacations. It is not the time to take on more financial obligations. It is the time to be sober and be clear about just how much you need to make it from week to week and month to month. It is good to imagine you are preparing for an earthquake here in Oregon. To have batteries to last you for a few months? Rice and beans in screwtop plastic garbage cans? You have large rubber containers that you can fill with water from the garden hose and some iodine, a few drops in each? Do you know your next-door neighbors? It's time to quietly prepare for an earthquake seriously. It is a time to set money aside with the idea in mind you might go 3 months in a row without any checks in the mail. Just as an exercise. It is a good time to realize that angry men come to blows over the most ridiculous of reasons, and remember that all human beings have the same feelings and failings.

It is a good time not to wear your heart on the sleeve and it is a good time to start watching your tongue. In troubled times the best shoes to put on are goodwill to all.  

Leo Rivers, CGOR

391 words



In "the End"

Life will seem brief.

so, brief but kind

be you.

 © Leo Rivers 2016