The John Batchelor Show

Friday 5 May, 2017

Air Date: 
May 05, 2017

Photo left: construction begins on the California high-speed rail project.

Hour One: Gene Marks, Francis Rose, WJLA-TV. Jeff Bliss,
Jerry Brown California High-Speed Rail slowly. Janet Napolitano University of California swiftly. Jeff Bliss, Pacific Watch.
The head of California’s $64 billion high-speed rail project said Friday that he’s stepping down after five years pushing forward a vision of 220-mph trains that still faces stiff resistance from lawmakers and the public.
Jeff Morales, 57, told The Chronicle that uncertainty over the project’s future had nothing to do with his resignation, only a genuine desire to move aside after breaking ground on the nation’s largest infrastructure project.
“We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress, from being at a standstill to having $3 billion-plus of construction under way,” he said. “Frankly, I didn’t think I’d be here for five years. I had no gray hair when I started the job. I have lots of it now.”
Morales, who sent his resignation letter to Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday, plans to remain chief executive officer of the California High Speed Rail Authority through June 2, long enough for his replacement to be found. The search for a successor has begun.
Plans for a 500-mile rail line, with trains running between San Francisco and Los Angeles in two hours and 40 minutes, were launched in 2008 with a voter-approved ballot measure.
Hour Two: Michael Vlahos, Johns Hopkins. Gregory Copley, Defense & Foreign Affairs.
75 Years Later: The Battle of the Coral See as a useful American myth. Michael Vlahos @jhuworldcrisis.
"...Although a tactical victory for the Japanese in terms of ships sunk, the battle would prove to be a strategic victory for the Allies for several reasons. The battle marked the first time since the start of the war that a major Japanese advance had been checked by the Allies. More importantly, the Japanese fleet carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku – the former damaged and the latter with a depleted aircraft complement – were unable to participate in the Battle of Midway (the following month) while Yorktown did participate, ensuring a rough parity in aircraft between the two adversaries and contributing significantly to the U.S. victory in that battle. The severe losses in carriers at Midway prevented the Japanese from reattempting to invade Port Moresby from the ocean and helped prompt their ill-fated land offensive over the Kokoda trail. Two months later, the Allies took advantage of Japan's resulting strategic vulnerability in the South Pacific and launched the Guadalcanal Campaign; this, along with the New Guinea Campaign, eventually broke Japanese defenses in the South Pacific and was a significant contributing factor to Japan's ultimate defeat in World War II...."
Hour Three: Dan Henninger, WSJ Editorial. Thaddeus McCotter, WJR. Richard Epstein, Hoover.
Republicans try out winning in the Rose Garden. @danhenninger @wsjopinion
If, after voters delivered control of Congress to them in 2016, these same Republicans can’t—or will not—produce an ObamaCare reform, those voters may reasonably ask in 2018: Why do we need these people? What is a Republican for? Even by current bread-and-circuses standards, the GOP elephants are losing their entertainment value....
Hour Four: Steve Warner, DarkcityFM.  Henry Miller, Hoover. Thomas Hone, editor, “Midway,” PART 2 of 4.
Assange is very unhappy at the movies. Steve Warner @darkcityfm dark
"...Many of Assange’s comments in the film seem inappropriate and even misogynistic. Were you disturbed by his attitudes?
I feel similar to your responses. I find them to be disturbing, but I felt they were important to include in the film in terms of having a complex nuanced, depiction of Julian. They’re his words, right? There were no hidden cameras.
Assange disapproves of “Risk.” Is he upset that the film highlights his troubling relationship with women?
It’s around those issues. He didn’t want them to be in the film.
But it’s not just Assange who exhibits questionable behavior. Jacob Appelbaum, another member of the WikiLeaks circle, has also been accused of sexual assault and bullying. He denies the charges, but you reveal in the film that you were involved with him in 2014 and that a friend of your’s was bullied by Appelbaum. Why did you focus on those allegations and why did you go public about your relationship?
To include that I felt that I needed to disclose my involvement with Jacob, both so the audience knows about it, and because I had insights which I reference in the film about someone close to me that he’d been abusive towards.
In the film, at one point, you say that while making “Risk” the “lines have become blurred.” How so?
When I began filming, I was a documentarian looking in from the outside, so the opening scene of the film, there’s a conversation where they’re calling the State Department and they’ve learned that their password has been published and documents are about to come out. They were very nervous in that situation. It was “what should we do?” From the outside, I could sense there was tension, but I wasn’t having to make that decision.
I got pulled into the story very directly when I was contacted by Edward Snowden, and I was put in the position of having to make those same kind of decisions. I became more of a participant. That created the blurring.
Do you resist becoming less of an objective observer?
There’s a long tradition of journalism that comes from a first-person perspective, and I fall into that. I don’t shy away from saying what my political views are. There are some journalists that wouldn’t go to a protest or wouldn’t answer a question about what they think about a war. I don’t believe in that. I will express my opinions about things. All of my films are told from the perspective of the people I’m filming and they’re happening in real time, so they are, I guess, subjective in that sense. But the journalistic obligation to get the facts right still applies...."