Episode 164: The Year 2023 in Review

In my annual recap episode, I am looking back at the topics that I’ve covered this year and forward to the changes that 2024 will bring for the podcast.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://privatecitizen.press/episode/164
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Hello Fab,

I’m glad that you managed to fit in one last episode this year, I was afraid to ask if there will be an episode, I don’t like to create pressure, but it’s enjoyable to hear your take on what’s happening, as we are living, unfortunately, in seemingly very interesting times.

You mentioned something about getting old and the image of the old guy yelling at the sky, yeah… Check (soon I will be 49).

On one hand I enjoy listening to your point of view as I feel it resonates with things I’m thinking of too.

But on the other hand, I try to balance this by trying to listen to other points of view (I’m still listing to Sam Harris, among others).

I’m really curious about how people come to their conclusions, but now and then you also feel the need to validate your own point of view.

So thank you for contributing to my attempt to understand.

At one point you mentioned that you blame the media and how “they are not […] performing their function in society”.

I really don’t share this expectation, for me it’s important to remember that the media are also people, with their shortcomings, blind spots, biases, which should all be taken into account when listening to them.

It’s always on the receiver to try to filter out the good from the bad, and to finally: make their own point of view based on the available data.

Another interesting point you raised: about how a scientist, like a hacker would look at research.

Here again a small disagreement: I don’t believe a hacker is looking only to how break something.

For me, a hacker is someone who tries to understand how something, really works. To try to understand it completely: where it works and what are its limitations. And, in the end, he would use this to achieve his own purposes, by using these things in the way it actually works, not in the way it is “supposed” to work.

Finally, best wishes to everyone at this time of year, and looking forward to other interesting topics.



Hi Fab - happy New Year to my favourite podcaster from Dusseldorf :slight_smile:

I know I rarely get time to provide feedback to your episodes, but it seems that we were both in the same boat in 2023 - caught up in other matters. I will endeavour to follow your example for 2024 and be more active as a Producer.

It was great to see you in April last year where we attended the amazing Sabaton gig in Copenhagen - probably the best Sabaton performance that I have seen.

If you remember, I did give you some producer feedback then - also in the shape of a book, John Sweeney’s Killer In The Kremlin. I don’t think you have yet considered it, but I live in hope, As a gesture, I have upgraded my Patreon membership to Executive Producer. If you would consider making your own subscription to John Sweeney’s Patreon to read his articles, my upgraded membership could cover that for whatever time you want. John is an independent journalist who resides in Kyiv and has done since before the outbreak of Russia’s SMO.

I have also gifted you a month of paid subscription to another columnist/writer called Sarah Kendzior, who writes very poignant pieces about contemporary America. I believe that her writings will be of interest to you as well, and maybe provide a different perspective to consider.

As I said, I will try to provide more regular feedback. I look forward listening/reading your work in 2024.


Hello Mike,

Thank you for the suggestions (although they were directed at Fab). I’m also interested in bursting my own bubble.

But on first look on first look, the common factor to both seems to be that they are anti-Trump.

Personally, I’m not a pro-Trumper, but when it comes to choosing the lesser evils, clearly everyone has their poison of choice :slight_smile:

Cheers, and a Happy New Year!

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Hi Fadi,

Thank you for the feedback.

John Sweeney is definitely anti-Trump, however I brought him to Fab’s attention because he is an independent journalist that has spent the last two years in Ukraine. He also has several years of experience of reporting on matters related to Russia. He was on the scene when the Dutch passenger plane was shot down over Ukraine 10 years ago, for example. Fab says he does not know what is going on in Ukraine anymore, so I wanted to bring something to the table.

Sarah Kendzior is both anti-Trump and anti-Biden - which I find interesting. Again, wanted to bring a different voice to the table.

Not sure why my input has to be rated on whether or not it is anti-Trump, but I guess this is how my contributions have been viewed for a while, so here we are.

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Sorry Mike if I gave this impression, and definitively this is not a “rating” but an observation.

It looks to me that there are a kind of set positions that people take, and this somehow colors what they consider as true.

Maybe I’m also falling for this dichotomy, bur it’s encouraging if Sarah Kendzior is not taking sides.

Let’s see.


No worries, Fadi. I understand.

However, in general terms I want to see if Fab is up for talking about these situations in philosophical terms. I get his “trust no one” approach to news, but I also believe that one can succumb to nihilism by doing so. And as much as we wish to not take sides, I don’t think that’s quite how the world works. Anyway, a much larger conversation lies behind that.

I would like to believe that I do not frame every waking second on what I think about Trump :smile:

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You are correct. I probably used imprecise language here. By “hacker”, I specifically meant a black hat hacker in this case…

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Man, that concert was a lot of fun!!

Thank you very much for all the donations (in various forms). Sweeney’s book is on my desk and I will get around to reading it at some point. I had to take a break from things for various reasons and started reading Gibbon again, which derailed me and probably was a mistake… :smile:

Hi Fab, great to hear you are back in the swing of things :+1:

Yeah, I was kinda never out of it. Just busy. But I should be able to turn back to this stuff now…