Where is Dylan Ratigan?

Neither his website nor his Facebook page show any activity after June 2012.   Many of us remember his infamous “rant heard round the world” on his MSNBC show in  August of 2011, after which nervousness ensued in various quarters. It was full of ugly truths and made plutocracrats across the planet very very uncomfortable. And, I’m sure, angry. Shortly after, Ratigan abruptly announced he was ending the show and said he’d be launching some kind of collaborative activist entity. He put up a website, got on the Twitter and FB, sold his loft in NYC and went – where?

Here is a vid of the rant, and  his own follow-up post about it. The transcript itself is below the fold if you would rather read, but the passion in the video is powerful and I think it’s well worth the three plus minutes of your time.

I picked up most of this at a blog called The Golden Age of Gaia which is, unsurprisingly given the name, a very metaphysical place. (The post is here.)

Dylan Explains his rant:

I’m Mad As Hell. How About You?

August 10, 2011

Yesterday, on TV, I exploded. I spent two minutes giving a primal yell at our political system, demanding the extraction of our money and dignity end. It was my most heartfelt and emotional moment on television, ever.

And the emails poured in. I hit a chord, because it’s something we all feel. Take a look.

With the markets in turmoil and the global financial architecture groaning under the weight of fraud and corruption, it’s a good time to think about what leadership would look like. Believe it or not, we have had good leadership, purpose, integrity, and aligned interests in this country.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy faced a dilemma — how could he direct our intense competitive passion with the Soviet Union in a direction other than war? The answer was his call for America to beat the Soviets to the moon. Kennedy understood power; if he did not lead us towards peaceful productive competition, that same animus would have turned violent (see this key memo on the real rationale for the space race). So he took the passion and focus of our society, the technology of war and missiles, and turned it into a great mission to explore space. He gave us a shared goal.

But that’s not the full story. Kennedy also demanded we use the finest scientists and engineers to design the rockets, and made sure that the path to the moon was based on the best possible solution to get there. For large rocket boosters, he was open to chemical, nuclear, liquid fuels, or any combination. He did not put a commission of astrologers in charge, and he did not put political cronies with no scientific background in charge of designing the rockets.

We had a shared goal, and we had a problem-solving process with integrity and aligned interests. Kennedy was the leader of this initiative, but Americans at that time, possibly because of a shared experience in World War II, had a shared purpose. They believed in prosperity as a goal, and they had a shared set of problem solving values to get there. They believed in education, in health and welfare, in mutual security, in dignified work and in Americans making things. The moon shot didn’t just avoid war with the Soviets, it created the largest surge of American students into math and science in history.

Today, we face the same demons as decades past. We have passion, and focus, and we want to compete. What we lack is a set of shared prosperity goals, and a shared problem solving values to get there. There’s no consensus, for instance, on the need to solve the problem of climate change. But even where we have some consensus, say on creating jobs, there’s no integrity or aligned interests in how we’re approaching the problem. It’s well-known in DC among lobbying firms that every policy initiative must be wrapped in the shared goal of creating jobs. It’s unclear whether anyone there has that as an actual goal, but even if they did, there’s no integrity in the way they are going about creating jobs. We still trust the same corrupted economic establishment, an establishment with no ethos of the importance of problem solving. Astrologers (like S&P) are in charge of job creation.

So now we are locked in a war of ideas and mechanics in a battle for power. But power to what end? The political solutions proposed by DC today are the opposite of Kennedy’s moonshot. We are taking our collective passion and focus and turning it toward manipulating power for the self-preservation of a few instead of working together towards shared goals with shared values knowing our ideas and mechanics will change as long as we try to get there.

Whether it’s full employment, clean energy, building a bridge, whatever — there’s no mutual consent to a set of shared goals, integrity on how to achieve them, or aligned interests. Even where there are policy discussions on, say, how to cut our debt load, it is the opinions of discredited ratings agencies that seem to matter. So our choices are organized around austerity measures that we know will not cut debt loads. Again, it’s using astrology to get to the moon.

I’ve realized, over time, that it isn’t policy ideas we need. We need, as citizens, a shared purpose. And we need a commitment to integrity of process, and aligned interests so the incentives exist for all of us to contribute. You can talk to billionaires — and I have — who are scared for their children, for their country, and for the world. And if billionaires can’t create the changes we need in the machine, if Congress can’t, if the President can’t, then we must look to ourselves.

When Kennedy called for the country to go to the moon, he said that “no single space project will be more impressive to mankind… and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.” The difficulty and expense were great problems to overcome, not reasons to shrink from greatness. He said we would experiment with different rocket technology, “until certain which is superior.” Every engineer, politician, and bureaucrat focused on the overall goal — not how to look like America was getting to the moon to get power and credit, but how to actually do it. And it was not his project, or even the project of the astronauts who went there. “It will not,” he said, “be one man going to the moon… it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.”

This is shared purpose — Americans paid taxes, worked on rockets, trained as astronauts, cleaned NASA buildings, or did whatever they could do — to get each one of us to the moon using shared values to solve problems that got us closer to our objective. Later on, the space station in the 1970s, using even more advanced technology that could have been used for war and weaponry, helped us develop a new cooperative posture with the Soviet Union, cooling off the Cold War. This remarkable problem-solving value set helped create not just leadership in the space program, but the technological spinoffs we enjoy today.

This is the spirit we need today. We need to fight against the great ideological machine that lacks purpose, lacks integrity, and lacks aligned interests. The first step is to recognize our own place in it. If we believe that our problems are all due to the Tea Party, or Obama, or corporate power brokers, or liberals, then we’re lacking the integrity necessary to reach any goal. The reality is, by boxing ourselves into a tribal two-party state, we are all part of the machine. And so, in order to change it, we must simply change our own minds. We must reorient our own ways of thinking, to a leadership driven model of citizenship. It isn’t enough, or even necessarily important, to care about which politician is in charge. We must seek within our own lives and our own politics, food, culture, families, and schools, values. We must share a set of prosperity goals — full employment, clean energy, patient driven health care, high-quality universal education — and push our leaders and ourselves to achieve them.

Ultimately, peace and prosperity will not be made because we get rid of the animal instincts within us, the competitiveness, the passion, the need to argue. It will happen because we will use those instincts, as we did with the moonshot, to build a society that lets us take care of each other and solve our problems. And so we must figure out how to stop giving our consent and legitimacy to an unthinking mechanical beast that runs our lives, a beast which enslaves us to accounting mechanisms like debt ceilings instead of the shared prosperity we seek as a culture and society. We must figure out how to restore the integrity necessary to actually solve our problems and we must understand how to align all of our interests so we each have the incentives to solve them. That way, we can ensure our bridges don’t fall down and our job creation initiatives actually create jobs.

I have no doubt that by rededicating ourselves, another moonshot is inevitable. That’s just what happens when problem-solving people dedicate themselves to prosperity as a goal, make sure that integrity is the keystone of how they achieve it, and align their interests so it is doable.

TRANSCRIPT OF THE ON-AIR RANT:

Dylan: We’ve got a real problem…this is a mathematical fact. Tens of trillions of dollars are being extracted from the United States of America. Democrats aren’t doing it, republicans aren’t doing it, an entire integrated system, banking, trade and taxation, created by both parties over a period of two decades is at work on our entire country right now.

Dylan: What are you talking about $4 trillion?

Karen: $4 trillion, I’m saying…

Dylan: We owe $70 trillion. [cross-talking 04:29] a $4 trillion solution, which is basically just a way for the Democrats to avoid dealing with this until 2017. I’m not here to talk about plans to deal with this till 2017. I’m saying we’ve got a real problem, and I’m tired of Republicans and Democrats who either want – Republicans who want to burn the place to the ground and Democrats, with all due respect, who want to offer a plan that gets it through the end of their second term of their presidency, and then screws me and my kids when it’s over! And until we do that, we have to deal with the extraction that is at foot, it is the reason the financial markets are behaving the way they’re behaving, it is a mathematical fact! This is not some opinion; this is a mathematical fact. Tens of trillions of dollars are being extracted from the United States of America. Democrats aren’t doing it, Republicans are not doing it, an entire integrated system, financial system, trading system, taxing system, that was created by both parties over a period of two decades is at work on our entire country right now. And we’re sitting here arguing about whether we should do the $4 trillion plan that kicks the can down the road for the President for 2017, or burn the place to the ground, both of which are reckless, irresponsible, and stupid. And the fact of the matter is until we actually, and I’m sorry to lose my temper, but I tell you what, I’ve been coming on TV for three years doing this, and the fact of the matter is that there’s a refusal on both the Democratic and the Republican side of the aisle to acknowledge the mathematical problem, which is that the United States of America is being extracted. It’s being extracted through banking, it’s being extracted through trade, and it’s being extracted through taxation, and there’s not a single politician that has stepped forward, Susan, to deal with this.

Susan: Yeah, but there’s only one right now, the leader of the free world, whether you like it or not, the President of the United States is arguably one of the most powerful individuals we have out there, and he’s our President.

Karen: But, Susan, what you’re saying is exactly the point that Dylan is making. It’s not about one guy; it’s about all of them.

Susan: No, I actually disagree. I think Dylan – it is about one guy.

Dylan: I agree with her. It is about one guy.

Karen: What would you like him to do? What do you want him to do?

Dylan: I would like him to go to the people of the United States of America and say, “People of the United States of America, your Congress is bought, your Congress is incapable of making legislation on healthcare, banking, trade, or taxes because if they do it, they will lose their political funding and they won’t do it. But I’m the President of the United States, and I won’t have a country that is run by a bought Congress. So I’m not going to work with a bought Congress and try to be Mr. Big Guy, ‘I’m working with a bought Congress’, I’m going to abandon the bought Congress like Teddy Roosevelt did, and I’m going to go to the people of the United States and I’m going to say, ‘You’ve got a bought Congress,” and until we get rid of the bought Congress, which is Jimmy Williams constant point, which is get the money out of politics, and until a President says that’s the problem and says he’s going to fix it, there is no policy that I can possibly see no matter how brilliant your idea may be or your idea or my idea or her idea or your idea at home, is that idea will not happen as long as there’s a capacity to basically fire a politician who disagrees with me by taking funding away from him. Is that a fair assessment?

Jimmy: Money in politics is the root of all political evil. It is corruption at its worst. And until we step up and kick that out of the park, it’s going to be the same system all the way.

Dylan: And only the President can do that.

Jimmy: No, no, no, Congress has to do it, too. Congress has to do it, too.

Dylan: But I’ll tell you what, how bad does it have to get? How much money has to be extracted? How many things have to be heard?

Karen: [cross-talking 07:59] tax. Okay, physically, what do you do?

Dylan: You go and give a speech to…

Karen: Right now.

Dylan: Yeah, right now. You say…

Karen: And then what happens tomorrow?

Dylan: Tomorrow, what happens is you begin the process of actually investing in solving the problems, so I come out and I say, “How?” I create an infrastructure bank with 2% blending immediately. There’s – once I explain to people the problem, once I explain to you that you have cancer, once you understand how screwed up your trade, tax, and banking policies are, believe me, you will have no issue when I incorporate an infrastructure bank that I fund with repatriated offshore money that I bring in and then use to create 2% direct lending to every business in America because when you realize that the banking system is fully corrupt and defrauding us, and I come out and say that, which is what I want my President to do, then at that exact moment I say, “You know what, we’ve got a screwed up situation here, people. You all know it, and now I’m going to admit it.” And as a result, not only have I admitted it, but we’re going to begin the process of solving it like grown ups. They did in World War II, they did it after the Civil War, they did it in Latin America with the Brady Bond; we are not seeing it happen now.

The panel stays a little more emotional than I anticipated getting at work this afternoon, but what am I going to do?

9 responses to “Where is Dylan Ratigan?

  1. I went to Wikipedia, and all the info about him ends with June, 2012. Sorry Moe, no other info concerrningg Dylan…

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    • That was where I started Don – it’s really quite astonishing to me that such a gap can exisit on wiki – after all, pending editor’s approval, almost anyone can add info to a subject. Weird indeed. I’m going to keep googling about . . .

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  2. To me he seems perfectly normal—that’s the way I feel every day 😐
    BTW, that 2% infrastructure bank idea is excellent…

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  3. Very good stuff, Moe. Insightful. I can think of only one point to quibble over, one which I think Ratigan failed to pursue adequately, and that is the source of the passion which Kennedy tapped for the moon mission. It was the competitive animal nature of the body politic, and at the time the political catalyst was the Cold War. The USSR posed a visceral threat to us, having stolen the blueprint to the hydrogen bomb and then beaten us into space with Sputnik. Kennedy was a successful opportunist but it’s my guess that even he didn’t foresee just how successful the venture would be in getting us all to pull together. Recreating the moon mission is a nice idea but it won’t work without the catalyst. What we need is an invasion of ET’s from the planet Kolob, or the equivalent. Then we would all be pulling together.

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    • Actually Jim, I think it would be Klingons (Version 1) who’ll be swooping down!
      As for how we embraced the goal of reaching the moon, I think we also were still in the ‘glow’ of our post WWII triumphs in remaking Japan and Germany and still thought we could do just about anything we set our minds to.

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