Cartoon for July 26

More and more, it feels like the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.


22 Responses to “”

  1. Susan Stark Says:

    Good point, Ted. But the last panel was Yeltsin’s fault.

  2. Natasha Yar-Routh Says:

    Yes Yeltsin advised by free market ideologues from the Chicago School of economics. The same group that gave Obama most of his economic advisers.

  3. Incitatus Says:

    Actually, Susan, there were many more people, mostly dead by then, to blame for. The ones that oversaw over 70 years of make-believe economics and political repression. The Yeltsin years were really just chickens coming home to roost, not much to blame on the poor wino.
    And lest I forget, the same is probably going to happen to Cuba when (the sooner, the better) El Comandante kicks the bucket. Things are going to get worse before they get better. Luckily, Raúl is a bit more pragmatic, and not as much of a lunatic, so adjustment is already happening, albeit slowly.

  4. Anonymous Says:


  5. Aggie Dude Says:

    Western neo-lib economists had a lot to do with it too (shock therapy – putting the ‘rapist’ back in ‘therapist’).

    As far as the overall argument, it’s been pretty clear to me for years that one superpower wasn’t going to last very long after the first one bit the bullet.

    But, I must defer here to Robert Kaplan’s world view and say that as rotten as you might think the social, political and economic system of the US is right now, it’s nowhere near as bad as the Soviet situation in the 1980s.

    I predict the US will recede and soft-land over the next few decades. Tomorrow we will have more of the same…just, more of it.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    If Obama is Gorbachev, then that means Yeltsin is on the way! I bet Kucinich is our Yeltsin!

    I wonder who’s our Putin.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    If you’re trying to say that Hu Jintao is Reagan, then I am going to move to China in a few years, thanks for the tip!

  8. Fouad Says:

    Just keep in mind that the Soviet Unions federal dept was about $70 Billion with a B when they collapsed..whats ours again?

  9. Susan Stark Says:

    I’m sorry, Incitatus, but I have to respectfully disagree. What the Russians wanted right before and after the fall of the Soviet Union was a Western-European style system, such as France or Sweden, where people are able to travel and do business, while at the same time retaining social programs like health care and education. What they got instead was a neo-liberal nightmare, as described by others above.

    As for something like that happening in Cuba, it’s extremely unlikely. The reforms that you describe in Cuba were actually started under Fidel (more elections, etc.) and are continuing under Raul (more cell phones and less travel restrictions). The Cubans saw what happened in the 90s in Russia, and are determined not for that to happen to them.

  10. Sean C. Ledig Says:

    Great ‘toon. It’s scary how much we are like the old Soviet Union.

    But the way to spell “bar” in the Cyrillic alphabet looks like “bAP” not “BAP.”

    The way you spelled it would sound like “var” if pronounced in Russian.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    The flaw with the Obama=Gorby ushering in Yeltsin is that America’s Yeltsin came before America’s Gorbachev.

    W is the one who went farther than any other US pres in implementing Friedmanism.

    Someone said O is economically the same as Bush. Balderdash. Just go to his economics portion of his website. his eco policies are NOT Chicago school. Tax penalties for outsourcers? Uncle Milty is weeping that you should associate the Chicago school with such an idea.

  12. Kurt Says:

    Susan and others…

    I think that it is much simpler.. Oligarchy is BAD. The Soviets got it in the 40’s and we got it in the 80’s. When wealth and power are concentrated in just a few hands… it turns out the wealty and powerful use it in such a way that the vast majority of people suffer greatly. Sadly, any student of history can point out that this happens regularly all the way back to ancient times, and probably well into pre-history.

    The really, really sad thing is that the oligarchs that cause the problems almost never suffer (Julius Ceasar being one notable exception).

  13. Marion Delgado Says:

    to speak plainly, incitatus is exactly the kind of evil sociopathic nut that got both the former soviet union and now the US into all the trouble they had and we have. mises and rand are at fault, no need to invoke marx. under MARX the standard of living was infinitely better than under Mises now. I LIVED in that system when Gorbachev was running things. there’s NO question.

    The biggest criticism of Gorbachev now is that he went too fast (in every area except pulling the troops out of all the bases in E. Europe, etc.). Yeltsin was a grandstander, and the *yawn* coup (which forced me to hang out in Japan while it was ongoing) was a disaster mainly because it gave a senile alcoholic Party man and wannabe frontman for Western capitalists credibility his Congress-shelling ass never merited.

    Fortunately, you don’t really have to chose some economic cult and make it your personal faith, be it Marxist or Austrian or Randite or whatever, it turns out. I wish we could exile the incitatus types to a rocky, barren island somewhere with no resources or infrastructure – since they produce it out of thin air anyway – where they could no longer destroy the planet.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Marion Delgado

    You know who else had a relatively high standard of living but kept people in gulags for trumped up charges?

    If Rand and Mises are to blame for post Soviet Russia, is Marx to blame for current America?

  15. nietzchuck Says:

    More like the Soviet Union every day… except that the Soviet Union was more prepared than we are for a collapse. Under Soviet Communism, housing was owned by the government; when the economy collapsed and the state dissolved, people stayed where they were already living. They also had much better public transit than we do as well, leaving goods and workers the ability to move so long as the lines were maintained.

    If our economy collapses, everyone but homeowners will have to face some tough decisions (bridge, or alley?) And if unemployment is rampant enough, some homeowners may not be able to pay property taxes, leaving them in the same predicament. If the price of oil were to spike enough, or be simply be unavailable, most American cities will be left with feet and bicycles.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Icitatus was Caligula’s horse. 2+2=???? Hmmmmm…..

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Who’s Yeltsin in this little analogy?

  18. Anonymous Says:


    Great suggestions but there are other options too. First choice among experts in my area are vehicles. Parks and wooded areas close to urban and suburban areas are second choices.

    You have to move fast on these things, though, and do your research. You also need to learn to be a well-behaved member of the community in case you don’t have that down. It helps if you have a few skills and a strong back. Folks with homes or apartments often need a hand with this and that. A membership at the Y is good deal for showers, for example.

    We just need that good ole yankee know-how and can do.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    I think Gorbachev got a bad rap. But there is a lesson there – a competent, good, or even inspired leader is no substitute for vigilance.

  20. Ted Rall Says:

    Yeltsin = Obama

  21. Incitatus Says:

    @Marion Delgado (doesn’t sound too Russian to me), even though this is probably not going to be read:

    I find it fantastic that people like you make all kinds of inferences about my character and mental state based on a few lines of opinion on a blog comment section. Then, to add insult to injury, you wish me into virtual exhile, and still pretend to be a rational debater.

    I’ve known some people that left Yeltsin’s Russia for the US. All agree it sucked. None of them thinks though that Russia was better in Gorbachev’s time (or before!) than it is now.

    Tell me again, how am I, a lowly IT geek, destroying the planet? Any more than, say, Stalin’s and Mao’s industrialization efforts did?

  22. Anonymous Says:

    If Obama is Yetlsin, then who’s Gorbachev?


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