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Audience Cheers as Grayson Explains Occupy Wall Street to Maher, Guests

Alan Grayson sat quietly, patiently, while Bill Maher’s guests, P.J. O’Rourke and Nicolle Wallace dissed the Occupy Wall Street participants and ridiculed the “bongo drum” atmosphere.  At one point, Ms. Wallace revealed her inner fears by wondering aloud how and where the Occupiers relieved themselves.  I wondered if she needed a break.

Then it was Grayson’s turn. Watch the audience reaction.

Poor Nicolle, I thought she might pee on the set just worrying about it.  It did not occur to her that humans have the capacity to figure out solutions to such normal problems in a few hours, not three weeks later.

I was walking around the tent area at Occupy Boston yesterday, and an older woman with what I believe to be a British accent asked one of the young occupants, “can you tell me where the loo is?” He looked at her and said, “um, what?” She asked him again, “where’s the loo?” and he said he didn’t understand.

So I asked her if she meant restrooms? “Yes.” I explained they’ve been using the loos in the South Station, which is the main bus/rail and subway terminal in downtown Boston, right across the street from Dewey Square, the small park where they’ve set up their tents. She explained she didn’t know the local terms, but I assured her they work the same here as they do there.

The interesting thing was the Occupy rally going on while I was there. On another side of the plaza is the (ugly) imposing building for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.   The Fed building is about as impersonal a structure as one can imagine and still call it architecture.  It’s a very tall, intimidating building that overlooks — or should I say looks down upon — but is not apparently connected to, Boston’s financial district on the other side of the plaza.   In those financial buildings, people invest billions in global businesses.  There are also people who helped make Mitt Romney rich and some who secretly finance Mitt Romney’s campaigns with the money they made deciding which companies to buy, break up, sell and outsource the jobs.

But the Occupy group was holding a rally in front of the Fed’s main entrance, and I could hear the crowd repeating each speaker’s words, one phrase at a time. It was an anybody can talk session, so the topic varied with every speaker.  Some wanted to abolish the Fed, though I don’t assume they were Ron Paul supporters, but who knows?  But several of the speakers wanted to comment on how polite and supportive the Boston police had been.

I just want to say . . . [I just want to say . . .]
That the Boston police have done . . . [That the Boston police have done . . .]
A much better job of protecting us . . . [A much better job of protecting us. . . ]
Than the NYPD. . . . [Than the NYPD] — huge cheers and applause!

These speeches were happening in front of the the Federal Reserve Bank building, and a ring of police was standing between the crowd and main entry doors to the building. There were about a dozen police in front, and I spotted several others standing around elsewhere, though not enough to suggest anyone was expecting any trouble.  The officers standing in front didn’t react when the crowd complimented and cheered them.

Boston’s Mayor Menino, an old line Democrat in a Democratic town, has been generally supportive, and the police have been cooperative, while the Occupiers have given them no cause to be otherwise.

I don’t know what the crowd was actually thinking when they cheered the police, but I’m fairly certain that the police are there at least in part because the authorities and property owners believe the building entrance and its occupants may at some point need to be protected if something unexpected happens — think about the D.C. provocateur at the Air and Space Museum. This was Saturday, so almost no one was going in/out the Fed’s front doors. Higher level execs and employees could have been using a parking entrance underneath.

But it was an interesting disconnect between why the police were probably there and the crowd’s spoken view that the police were there to protect them.  It reminded me of the Egyptians in Tahir Square thinking the army was there to protect them, and they did for a while, but those who led the army had their own agenda.

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley