Episode 156: The Widening Gyre

I’m back in the saddle. Well, at least partially. An explanation of what happened and some new developments in the Modern Solution case from a few years ago.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://privatecitizen.press/episode/156
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Hi Fab, good to hear you again! It’s also been been a while for me providing feedback, etc. I definitely feel the “widening gyre” myself!

I enjoyed the episode, but I must admit that the history of the Modern Solutions case was a bit hazy for me. However, after the episode, I was left with a clear sense that the upcoming appeal decision for the state court could be quite significant in Germany - good spot and it will be interesting to follow.

Other feedback and show ideas that have been brewing for a while:

  • If you remember, I gave you some homework at the end of April, namely the book Killer In The Kremlin by the journalist John Sweeney. How are you getting on with that?
  • With regards to the sea change in international politics, chiefly due to Russia’s first and second invasion of Ukraine, we will see much more development and dynamism in how nation states have to interact with each other in the coming years. I have for a while been fascinated by your take on what is happening (a curious mix of Realpolitik and pacifism) and I wanted to bring this article to your attention, as I feel it merits discussion and perspective: The Rise of the New Idealists - Byline Supplement
  • The other side of journalism: We know that you are quite critical of mainstream media journalists, and that their, shall we say, “quality” of reporting/writing is low even at news organisations that should know better. However, could we not get a segment on good journalism at both established organisations and in the grassroots and obscure corners (and please don’t make it all about Matt Taibbi or Glenn Greenwald). I would also like for you to look at why it is hard for good investigative reporters to gain traction - an example to look at is the use of Strategic lawsuit against public participation - Wikipedia (SLAPP) by the rich and powerful to silence those who want to bring their activities to light. There are many recent examples of this, especially in the UK. Of course the ultimate fate for some investigative reporters is that they end up killed. Although we are private citizens, we are also part of a society, communities, where transparency of the state and other powerful actors must be sought at all times - and we need to make sure that good reporters can do their job. I think it would be interesting to switch your spotlight on journalism to this topic, at least just once.

I have more feedback to give, but as always, time gets the better of me. I will try to write more often. Good luck with getting back in the saddle and listen to you soon.

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Hello Mike!

Although your comment is directed at Fab, I hope it’s Ok to butt in!

With regard to the article “The Rise of the New Idealists”, it would be nice to listen to both of you discussing it.

I think it’s a complicated topic: On the face of it, nobody would be against the “Ideals”. But maybe because I’m getting old: I’m mostly skeptical when ideals are brought up. I’ve seen a lot of idealistic goals being co-opted by corrupt individuals.

I can’t really tell how can people pursue ideals, while at the same time not fall prey to misguided idealism.

Maybe the fact that in a lot of choices, there’s not clear “good” or “evil” choice, but in reality it’s the selection of a lesser evil.

Maybe this would be the topic of a joint episode with Fab.


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Hey Fadi, thanks for the feedback to the feedback!

I think it is a danger to get caught up in the term “idealism” with this particular article. What I see is a very distinct blueprint for a geopolitical movement that we will have to consider carefully. I do not think we’re in the “head in the clouds” territory here. That is a very good discussion to initiate, though!

I will always consider making an episode with Fab if he wants to. I know he has moved away from the guest host format for some time now, but let’s see what he thinks :+1:

Thanks again for the observation and, as always, good to hear from you.

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Hello again,

You might be surprised by the cascade of ideas this topic brought to my mind.

I’m not sure how related the below will seem to you, but here goes:

In the same vein as the topic of choices and good and evil, and switching to gaming, I like games where choices have nuanced effects, two examples come to mind: The Witcher 3, Wild Hunt. Although I didn’t yet complete it, but I liked that some of the choices you make can have later effects, that were not completely anticipated.

The other one is Suzerain, where the outcome from your choices are not completely expected.

History is full of societies doing things that bring unintended consequences. It is a worthwhile topic in itself.

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@fabsh nice to hear you back in the saddle! I’ve hardly noticed the gap, myself having a major life overhaul in progress, but I do look forward to the new episodes and discussions.

I’m planning to have a couple of beers tonight, and one glass will certainly be raised to the time coming quicker — or, at least, before one of us is dead — for me to be able to monetarily support the show without putting either of us into a legally questionable position.

Loving the music, too.

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It’s on my desk. :sweat_smile:

I’ll put that on my to-read list, too. :sweat_smile:

Quick question, though: I find it curious that you would consider what has been going on in Ukraine since 2014 two separate invasions. To me, that seems to be a flawed view of the situation. Surely, this was part of one continuous process, right? I would think that it was calculated by Russian strategists (probably Putin himself) as a somewhat pre-defined series of escalations.

I would enjoy such a segment. I fear I don’t have the resources to set that up, at the moment. But I’d be happy for people to send in examples I can talk about!

As for lawsuits (SLAPP and otherwise), that is nothing new. That’s been a problem for journalists for the last 100 years or so. But since a journalist isn’t ultimately responsible for this kind of thing (unless they are independent like myself), I don’t really see it as something journalists need to address. This is why publishers exist and why most countries have set up their laws in a way that makes the publisher responsible and not the individual journalists. If we want to discuss this, the focus would be more on the media industry, I feel. The problem is editors and publishers not backing their reporters anymore (something that Taibbi especially has been talking about a lot for years). In my own experience, #MeToo and Cancel Culture has made this even worse for journalists as their editors are now even more afraid of Twitter lynch mobs than lawsuits…


Ha ha! I appreciate that, mate!

If I understand this correctly, there are no sanctions that apply to my work. But I have gathered you were holding off for good reason. Rest assured that everything is fine as it is, friend.

Once I have completed Sober September, I will raise a glass to the general geopolitical situation improving, however. I would love to visit the Russian Federation one day.

Erh… OK, bad choice of words. The war definitely started in 2014, but the world moved on and it was just “separatists”, anyway, right? . So to most people, it would seem like two different invasions, that’s probably why I wrote it like that.

Yeah, you are correct that most people and even most Western governments see it that way. I am beginning to think that it was a genius move of Ukrainian propaganda to paint it this way. Basically, nobody cared about the 2014 invasion, including NATO. With the renewed offensive, the Ukrainians managed to make everyone care a lot and thus reversed the previous genius move of Russian propaganda painting the invasion as “just separatists” and “not really a war”.

From a viewpoint of historical science, both invasions are exactly the same when it comes to international law and relations. The declaration of war in 2014 was de facto the same as in 2022. When it comes to the de jure declaration of war, it is more complicated. But then, it’s been a somewhat outdated concept since the German invasion of Poland in WWII.

This is no criticism of you, Mike, by the way. As you say, I think the majority of people see it this way. I’m just trying to be a bit more objective and careful than the majority of people (and governments) when discussing these things.