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Mike Nifong, General Mike Hayden, Susan Sarandon

The people who were Thursday

By John Burtis
Saturday, May 20, 2006

Thursday was quite a day, yes indeed.

I was privileged to watch the embattled DA, Mr. Mike Nifong, comport himself in a courtroom setting, see General Mike Hayden stay afloat in the williwaw blowing through the latest senatorial dog and pony show and finally learn that Susan Sarandon, the long suffering liberal wife, at least as far as I can ascertain, of the elongated Tim Robbins, has flown the coop and is now backing Ms. Hillary Clinton's senatorial rival.

Yes, Thursday was a day writ large.

Mr. Nifong, with his tics and shoulder rolling aside, seemed not to grasp the urgency of the request by the defense team to have the cell phone, allegedly used by the complainant, rescued as quickly as possible from the police gaol, and recharged in order to save the data and the stored numbers, which might be exculpatory in nature.

Yes, Mr. Nifong agreed with the judge, somehow he'd pull himself together and make himself available and write up a response and contact the defense and agree to a mutual plan sufficient enough to save the phone's data--or try to. And yes, the whole chain of events had to happen soon because the data could be lost and yes, Mr. Nifong believed that the police still had the phone in custody, but he'd be sure to check.

Now, I'm no legal expert, except by sitting in the hallway waiting to testify at a multitude of trials, but I'm sure hoping that somebody a lot sharper than Mr. Nifong was working for the people I was policing for.

But in the Duke Lacrosse Case, maybe that's a good thing, because I have no idea what's going on, which may, of course, be Mr. Nifong's preeminent strategy of bafflement, confusion and idiocy, leading, hopefully, to an early plea.

But somehow, watching this poor, befuddled gentleman shuffle papers, clear his throat, leaf through his summaries, nod for no reason, tighten his tie, pull up his socks, hoarsely and haltingly reply to the judges queries--his painful demeanor revealed a highly troubled man to me.

Of course, the absolute height of absurdity was reached when Mr. Nifong filed a motion requesting that he be immediately notified if any of the defendants planned to file motions of insanity. Motions, I felt, he might be filing himself.

And then, when the unfolding theater of the absurd seemed that it could go no further south, the hearings featuring General Hayden began their tortured unfolding.

Rather than belabor the vast layer of tommyrot being troweled over the hearings, one thing becomes abundantly clear--the idea that the Democrats had no idea about the NSA program and that they were not informed concerning its components is sheer unadulterated poppycock.

And all the insensate bawling, all the professed shock and horror evinced about our lost liberties and the destruction of personal rights and privacy by the great wallowing and bellowing myrmidons on the left, and their rote purveyors in the press and on the likes of CNN, is sheer crap.

The Democrats knew all along exactly what was being done at the NSA, were fully briefed on the program, and everything else was a stilted hastily written Kabuki play, orchestrated for a maximum amount of political damage, and was played out with the precision of the puppets in the famous Puppentheater in Salzburg.

Sadly, the other side of the coin reveals a Republican Party so totally cowed, despite their senatorial majority, that they allowed these crocodilian tears of outrage to continue far beyond rationality without a single united call for their cessation and an associated condemnation of their ringleaders.

Then, on top of everything else, Susan Sarandon, the left wing muse--the only actor with the proper credentials to play Cindy Sheehan in a morality play, er, movie, designed to show Cindy's life as a crystalline step above that of Mother Theresa--an avowed progressive, the sun queen, a protestor of all things right and decent, a friend to all illegal aliens, has abandoned Hillary Clinton, the last great socialist hope, in her hour of need.

This unfathomable shock has been relayed throughout America by TV, newspaper, Pony Express, smoke signals, the iron horse, carrier pigeon, Morse code, telegrams, the rumor mill, scuttlebutt, suspicious notes found by Mr. Patrick Fitzgerald and in evidence sought by Mr. Nifong.

Ms. Clinton was surrounded by her most loyal aides de camp, when the news, as outlandish as it seemed to all, was finally broken to her, in the privacy of her personal rail car en route from Buffalo to Sodus Springs, via Stone Arabia.

Didn't that great progressive diva, the one who badgers the teen aged movie ticket sellers in those hot tight little booths for free entry, and who just crossed Sarandon and Robbins out of her little black book, once sing something about people?

John Burtis is a former Broome County, NY firefighter, a retired Santa Monica, CA, police officer. He obtained his BA in European History at Boston University and is fluent in German. He resides in NH with his wife, Betsy. John Burtis can be reached at:

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