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Opinion

The violence in the Occupy movement has to be stopped. And by that I mean the violence perpetrated against the protesters during the last two months.

If you’ve been watching, you may have noticed that violence seems to erupt whenever authorities respond to the demonstrations in full riot gear, seemingly eager to unleash a hail of rubber bullets, tear gas and insidious devices like the sound cannon used on protesters at Zuccotti Park in New York City Tuesday morning.

The trend has been so common that Occupy protesters have designed posters recently that state, “You can tell who is planning on violence by what they’re wearing when they show up,” illustrated by photos of officers approaching in riot gear. It would be humorous if people weren’t actually getting hurt.

But the real causalties here are the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

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Life in the corporate police state

“Law is no longer what it was intended to be - a set of rules equally binding everyone to ensure that outcome inequalities are at least legitimate - and instead has become the opposite: A tool used by the politically and financially powerful to entrench their own power and control the society. That's how and why the law now destroys equality and protects the powerful.

What we see with the protests demonstrates exactly how that works. The police force - the instrument of law enforcement - is being used to protect powerful criminals who have suffered no consequences for their crimes. It is simultaneously used to coerce and punish the powerless: those who are protesting and who have done nothing wrong, yet are subjected to an array of punishment ranging from arrest to pepper spray and other forms of abuse.

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It was only a matter of time before the FBI would snag home-grown terrorists who didn’t “fit the usual profile” of Al- Qaeda wannabes. The alleged terrorists have been described by the government as right-wing extremists. Last week, four North Georgia men, ages 65-73 (three from Toccoa, and one from Cleveland) were charged with plotting to acquire explosives and manufacture toxins in order to target government facilities. Let’s see, we have to fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them in ... Toccoa?

A common thread in these FBI sting operations is that the conspirators always have the bad luck of inviting a government informant/ instigator into their group. One would think that somewhere along the line there would be masterminds who could properly vet their henchmen. There is no way of knowing how many aborted FBI manufactured terrorist plots there have been. If the FBI attempts to involve you in a crime – just who do you report that to?

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The other day, I wandered up to Union Square to see what all the fuss was about.

There, along the sidewalk near the old Capitol, about four dozen folks — young and old — stood and sat. They waved signs. They chanted. At one point, they marched around the square.

About a dozen police, both from the Raleigh Police Department and the State Capitol Police, looked on for a while. When three of the protesters wouldn't get up from chairs lined up along the walkway, police arrested those three and five others who wouldn’t step aside.

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