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Who Will Police the Secret Police?

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a meet-greet-and-discuss with Stewart Vanderwilt, the new CEO of Colorado Public Radio (CPR), the state’s NPR franchise.

Ambivalent about attending, I almost passed it up, preferring to relax with a cold beer after climbing one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks (there are 54) and suffering from leg cramps.

One lady, the head of the organization sponsoring the meeting, opined sotto voce to her immediate neighbors that she no longer listened to NPR: “It’s too biased and too boring.”

After all, this was NPR’s CEO in Colorado (after stints in Indiana and Texas), and he trod gently, wanting to explain NPR’s raison d’être and knowing full well that he faced a mixed ideological audience.

Vanderwilt, a very ordinary looking and sounding fellow of average height and girth, began by stating that most people assume NPR gets its lion’s share of funding from the government —

controversial and edgy current events radio is shouldered by Joshua Johnson of the program 1-A, the inheritor of the timeslot inhabited by the late Diane Rehm show.

KFYI, a major Phoenix radio station (and anchor to the nationally syndicated Kim Commando Show), hosted conservative, liberal, libertarian, and “non-ideological, common sense”

KYCA, my hometown radio station, once tilted libertarian, carrying the Leonard Peikoff show and an agony call-in show based on the “rational basis of happiness,”

Vanderwilt’s talk ended after a mere 20 minutes, at which point he opened the floor to questions and comments.

Like a seasoned pol deflecting an asked question with an answer to an unasked question, he glossed over the comment and artfully manipulated the word “liberal”

Putting an idea into prose requires choosing words to convey the thought, while even selecting what constitutes a news story, deciding how to report it, or how much context to include, invariably slants it.

Vanderwilt misconstrued my meaning, explaining that NPR’s editorial process strives very carefully to choose its words so as not to offend anyone.

With testimony over, work begins on key impeachment report

On Monday, hundreds of pages from Democratic Chairman Adam Schiff’s intelligence committee were being compiled into an exhaustive report that will begin to outline whether President Donald Trump engaged in “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” by withholding $400 million in aid as he pushed Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Americans remain deeply split over the impeachment question, despite hours of sometimes riveting testimony, and the country’s polarization now seems to foreshadow an outcome: Democrats are poised to vote to impeach the president while Republicans stand firmly with Trump.

Sending the case on to the Judiciary Committee, which is ready to start its own round of hearings in December, provides yet another chance to sway public opinion before a House vote expected by Christmas and a Senate trial in 2020.

While Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani pursued the political investigations with Ukraine in what witnesses described as an irregular foreign policy channel, Republicans argue it’s not clear the president directly intervened to withhold the money to Ukraine.

Some Republicans, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham, prefer to keep digging into unfounded claims that Ukraine was involved in 2016 election interference, a theory that contradicts the findings of U.S. intelligence.

When Congress resumes next week, Schiff is expected to send the report, compiled from 17 closed-door depositions and five public sessions, to the House Judiciary Committee, where Chairman Jerrold Nadler will soon begin hearings that are expected to result in articles of impeachment against Trump.

The Intelligence Committee still could hear from John Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, who left the White House after saying he didn’t want to be involved in whatever “drug deal” Giuliani was cooking up, according to testimony from a top aide, Fiona Hill.