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Kauffman Economics Bloggers Forum Update and a Few Links of Noe

I’m in Kansas City, where the Royals have started the season as one would expect of the current iteration of the team.

Fortunately, I’m not here for the baseball, but rather for the Kauffman Economics Bloggers Forum. There will be presentations tomorrow (agenda here; homepage for live streaming here) in three session. The morning features Tyler Cowen, Ben Wildavsky, Megan McArdle, Bryan Caplan, and Bob Cringely; early afternoon are Lynne Kiesling, Ryan Avent, Arnold Kling, and Felix Salmon; and it closes out with Dean Baker, Steve Waldman, and Virginia Postrel.

All times on the website are Central.

Discoveries so far:

  1. Steve Waldman and Matt Yglesias have the same hairstyle
  2. Felix Salmon agrees with me about individual investors and 401(k)s—indeed, I should say I agree with him, since he’s more vehement about the issue. (He gave me permission to quote him, but this is a family blog.)
  3. For the second year in a row, the “best” barbecue place in Kansas City provided inferior product; Tyler Cowen blames the voters for its loss.
  4. There was much discussion of cricket without mention of Lagaan (which, as I noted last year at this blog, explained to me why the British Empire failed, rather in the same way that Dick is the only movie to make sense of the White House in the early and mid-1970s).

Tune in tomorrow, after the positive but not thrilling Non-Farm Payoll release. Meanwhile:

  1. Buce continues the discussion started by Tim Geithner’s Chief Internet Apologist‘s discussion of Neil Barofsky’s analysis of TARP.
  2. As another two-fer, I’m trying to figure out how Don Marron’s discussion of a letter he signed dovetails with Bruce Bartlett’s analysis of a newly-proposed Constitutional Amendment. Maybe our readers can help?

On a personal note, the only “Asian” food service available at O’Hare Airport was nearly a full kilometer round-trip away from my gate, and I decided that my legs were tired enough. But on the flight from Chicago to Kansas City, I finished reading Sarah Manguso’s marvelous (and short) The Two Kinds [sic] of Decay and thought about feeling ashamed for not taking the walk. Fortunately, the feeling passed, but my regard for and recommendation of the book hasn’t.

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More on Real Interest Rates

In comments Mark Sadowski noted that short term real interest rates have fallen a lot since Ben Bernanke began announcing QE2. In earlier posts, I had considered only the 7 year constant maturity and the 5 year constant maturity series. I think that medium term real interest rates matter most for investment and that real interest rates have a negligible effect on consumption, government consumption, and net exports (except via exchange rates). I am also interested in the fact.

So I generated an absurdly crowded Fred Graph

The red, blue, green are real interest rates measured with TIPS prices — the red line is the real interest rate paid over the next year and 15 days, blue average over the next 2 years and 9 months and green average over the next 3 years and three months. The grey line is the 5 year real interest rate calculated by the Fed by interpolating yields on TIPS maturing at different times. The orange line is CPI inflation in the preceding year and the purple line is CPI minus food and energy (core) inflation in the preceding year.

I discuss the graph after the jump

They grey line is the one I’ve blogged about before. It shows no change over the period from first mention of QE2 (August 2010) until now. The red line in contrast dropped sharply corresponding to an increase in expected inflation on the order of 2%. This is Mark Sadowski’s poing (he cited a paper which interpolates a lot and I prefer to look at relatively raw data).

The blue and green lines show an drop of 1% on average. Along with the 1 year rate, this roughly corresponds to an increase in inflation expected for March 2012 through January 2014 of about half a percent (the nominal 3 year rate went up 0.2%). The difference in the 5 year nominal minus TIPS increased about ‘.5%, which suggests roughly no change in inflation expected after January 2014.

TIPS are indexed to the CPI not core inflation. As everyone knows, CPI and core inflation diverged in late 2010. I don’t live in the USA, so perhaps I can be forgiven for trying to put the change in the price of gasoline on the same graph (all of the interest rates looked like horizontal lines). I used increase in the past year, a very smoothed lagged measure, to fit inflation on the same graph as the TIPS rates.

Notably CPI inflation increased a lot over 2010 (the one year moving average increased 1%) and core inflation increased much less. Just from that, I’d guess CPI inflation will be high for a while then decrease. In other words, I tend to guess that the sharp change in the price of TIPS maturing in one year was mostly caused by the increase in the price of petroleum and partly by the increase in the price of food.

Of course, now that I have written here (and all over the web) that QE2 did nothing, I would be inclined to make such an interpretation. It is also possible that investors assume that the Fed will decide that 7% unemployment is low enough and reverse QE2 in the near future (the president of the St Louis Fed already discussed the possibility of not completing the scheduled purchases of 7 year notes).

Just to try to psychanalise the graphs more, there was clearly a TIPS price response in August 2010. Then it vanished in November (buy on the rumor sell on the news). My reading is that investors discovered that demand for 7 year notes is extremely interest elastic so QE2 itself didn’t affect prices. It is also possible that the November announcement was for much less quantitative easing than expected. And, since I have decided that developments since the peaks in very late 2010 are not due to QE2, I can’t complain if commenters note that I object rather fiercely when people suggest that the little up tick in very late 2010 was not related to QE2.

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We Beat the Germans in 1918/And They’ve Hardly Bothered Us Since Then

Brad DeLong culls the comments to this post at Crooked Timber to produce a “with notably rare exceptions” Greatest Hits package—his second post riffing on the original—in honor of The Maestro continuing to attempt to improve the reputations of Paul Volcker and Ben Bernanke, if not G. William (“I ran a company, I didn’t need to know about Finance”) Miller.*

I point you to Dr. DeLong on the off chance that you didn’t read any of the other three (one by Henry, two by Brad) posts, while we all wait for Patrick or Jim MacDonald to continue the riff with more variations.

Economics question of the day: whose productivity will be greater: someone who reads all (now four, counting this one) posts, someone who starts with Dr. DeLong’s second, someone who starts with Dr. DeLong’s first, or someone who only read Henry Farrell’s original post but kept clicking back to see the newer comments?

Explain your answer in terms of the value-added of aggregators and/or hedonic pricing. Best answers will be forwarded to Bill Dudley, the current leader of the FRB of New York, on the off chance he ever agrees to speak in Queens again.

*I refuse to believe that Alan Greenspan is stupid enough to believe the things he’s saying now. Next thing you know, he’ll be claiming that his Ph.D. thesis was so perfect that no one should ever read it, lest they despair of following in his giant footsteps.

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Who Speaks for a CDO ?

It has been asserted that many mortgage servicing contracts are inefficient, because they give the servicer incentives to foreclose even when re-negotiation would be better for the owner of the mortgage. An inefficiency is a profit opportunity. If there are such contracts, then a different contract can generate higher revenue for both the servicer and the final owner.

If this is a problem, then it is especially tricky in the case of mortgages owned by special purpose entities which issued various debt like tranches and an equity tranche (owned by the sponsor). In such cases, for all I know, any renegotiation of the service contract might be forbidden, but I think it is more likely that the sponsor as equity holder could renegotiate the contract with the mortgage servicer. The problem is that, for many CDOs the equity stake is worthless and would remain worthless even if the mortgage servicing contract were improved.

Owners of more senior tranches might benefit from a new contract which is equally valuable to the mortgage servicer, but they don’t control the special purpose entity. The debt like tranches are really more like preferred stock, since failure to make scheduled payments does not constitute default. Owners of those securities can’t ask a bankruptcy court to seize the special purpose entity to protect their interests. So, as things stand, there might be an inefficiency such that no one can profit by eliminating it.

The solution would be for the sponsor to purchase some of the preferred stock like securities, then renegotiate the mortgage servicing contract. Alternatively, an investor could buy the equity tranche (which is worth almost exactly zero) and some of the preferred stock like securities and then renegotiate.

I think there is a possible profit opportunity.

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What more can the Fed do ?

This post is long, vague, sloppy and after the jump. The one sentence version is that the Fed can affect the real economy by buying assets which private investors consider risky.

Before discussing useful things which I think the Fed can do to stimulate the economy, I will explain at length why I think that some proposed interventions would not be effective. I won’t argue this (here or in comments) but I think that last years massive purchases of treasury securities (aka QE2) had very little effect on anything.

One possible future policy would be much more of the same, that is much larger purchases of long term treasuries with Fed liabilities. The academic discussion of possible QE2 started with a proposal of $ 5 trillion new Fed liabilities issued. The actual QE2 as announced was one tenth that much. I don’t think that much huger operations would have a very large affect on anything that matters. I think this for two reasons.

First the return on long term bonds with negligible default risk is the compounded expected return on short term bonds plus a risk premium. Here the risk is not default risk but the risk of mark to market losses over a short horizon due to higher than expected future short term rates. A change in the amount that private investors must hold reduces the risk premium. The private sector as a whole can go short Treasuries (only the Treasury can do that) so the risk premium can’t be driven below zero. It appears to be very low right now, since the overall interest rate yield on Treasuries is low and presumably short term rates will return to normal some time in the next 10 years.

Second the interest rate that matters for private sector fixed capital investment is the cost of capital to firms, not the cost to the Treasury. Here I think an important problem might be the cost of capital to firms with poor bond ratings, but the risk premium they pay is mostly due to default risk and not at all the same as the risk in long term Treasuries (I’d guess it is negatively correlated — good GDP growth means higher interest rates on short term Treasuries and low risk of default by firms — long term Treasuries are insurance against poor growth — less of them in private hands should, in my view, increase the cost of capital to firms at risk of bankruptcy).

Third, while firms care about interest rates over years, I suspect that managers have enough of a short term bias that the rate that matters is over 5 years or less (in a pinch 7 years or less). The expected flow of funds seven to thirty years from now is just not likely to influence their decisions. These interest rates are already very low and can’t be negative.

I don’t think the Fed can drive down short term nominal rates expected for many years from now with QE3 or announcements about plans for the future or in any way at all. They depend on future monetary policy by future Fed Open Market Committees facing future conditions.

The interest rate that matters for firms deciding on investment should be the real interest rate. I also don’t think that the Fed can drive up inflation expected for many years from now for the same reason. A higher declared inflation target should only affect inflation expected for the near future if the Fed will have some way of affecting inflation in the near future. It shouldn’t affect inflation expected for when the economy is back to normal — a promise to create inflation in the distant future by driving unemployment below the NAIRU is not credible.

So I don’t think that much more of the same will affect GDP much.

How about helicopter drops of money ? If the Fed gave away money rather than loaning it or buying financial instruments, then it would create the illusion of wealth. However, the Fed can’t do this. The helicopter drop story is a teaching example. Giving money away is fiscal policy. This isn’t just a semantic point — Congress can’t give any other body the authority to give away US Federal money — this is clearly written in the constitution. Furthermore the argument that the Fed should give away money is based on the argument that Congress should but won’t. Doing something that only Congress may do, because Congress won’t do it, is plainly unconstitutional. Also I’d guess someone (Ron Paul or a Paulican) would sue. The Republican party is against this, so I guess that the Supreme court would block it.

I think it is already clear what I think the Fed can do which would be useful. First I think the economy would be stimulated if someone bought a whole lot of junk bonds driving up their price and driving down the cost of capital to firms with poor bond ratings. The creation of Maiden Lane, Maiden Lane II and Maiden Lane III ltds makes it clear that the Fed thinks it can’t do this directly. So I propose loaning more money to one of them (or setting up Maiden Lane IV) and having that entity buy a lot of junk bonds.

These are the assets whose price is most likely to affect investment. They are assets which are considered risky so their return can be much reduced if private investors are required to hold less of them.

Other risky assets are, of course, mortgage based securities. The Fed can and has purchoased rmbs issued by government agencies. Here I tend to guess that the Fed can renegotiate servicing contracts to make foreclosure costly to loan servicers. I even think the Fed can renegotiate mortgages with debtors (OK I hope it would be allowed to do this if it tried). In any case, it can definitely agree with firms servicing its mortgages that they are not punished for forgiving debt which will never be paid or rewarded for foreclosing on houses which they then can’t sell.
As beneficial owner, the Fed is the principal. It must be able to prevent its agents from acting against its interests.

So I think that the Fed can act as owner of mortgage backed securities to renegotiate absurd incentive contracts and can (indirectly) buy junk bonds.

So why isn’t anyone talking about these possibilities ?

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Greece: This Decade’s Argentina?

Crossposted at The Street Light.

There’s been a bit of discussion floating around about whether the US’s deficit and debt situation makes it appropriate to draw comparisons with Greece. Of course, such a comparison is ridiculous for a number of reasons, not least because the US has its own currency. But Greece has been on my mind lately for unrelated reasons, including the following news:

Euro economists expect Greek default, BBC survey finds
Greece is likely to default on its sovereign debt, according to the majority of respondents to a BBC World Service survey of European economists. Two-thirds of the 52 respondents forecast a default, but most said the euro would survive in its current form.

…The forecasters the BBC surveyed are experts on the euro area – they are surveyed every three months by the European Central Bank (ECB) – and as well placed as anyone to peer into a rather murky crystal ball and say how they think the crisis might play out. The survey had a total of 38 replies and two messages came across very strongly.

Not only do I agree that default by Greece on its sovereign debt is quite possible… but I think it increasingly likely that policy-makers in Greece may decide that it is the least bad option at this point, particularly in the face of an increasingly hard-line attitude from Germany regarding bailouts (which will only be reinforced by recent election results).

The problem is easy to lay out: Greece has more debt than it can realistically make payments on, and being a euro country also has a currency over which it has no control. If it had its own currency, it would be in a classic debt crisis similar to several Latin American countries in the 1980s, or possibly Mexico in 1994.

However, it effectively has a fixed exchange rate with the rest of the euro zone, and has invested enormous political and economic capital in maintaining its committment to the euro. In that sense, the best analogy might be with Argentina in 2001, which was struggling to maintain a rock-solid fixed exchange rate with the US dollar through a currency board arrangement.

Argentina in the late 1990s had a slowing economy, uncompetitive industries, large current account deficits, and a vast amount of external debt denominated in a currency that was not its own. Sound familiar? In an effort to meet its debt payments while simultaneously keeping its exchange rate pegged to the dollar, the Argentine government squeezed and squeezed the economy. Finally, however, the resulting deflation and recession grew so severe that the government collapsed, and in early 2002 a new government dropped the peg to the dollar (after fiddling with a hybrid system with multiple currencies existing simultaneously) and eventually defaulted on its debt.

And look what happened.

From 1999-2002 Argentina suffered through years of a gradually contracting economy as it tried to maintain its peg with the dollar and service its external debts. When it finally dropped the peg in January of 2002 and then defaulted on its external debts, the economy (along with the value of the peso) crashed quite spectacularly.

But after a year or two, things didn’t look so bad in Argentina. And through most of the 2000s, the economy did quite well, despite the loss of the ability to borrow internationally.

I’m not necessarily advocating that Greece follow the same path. However, I do think that the comparison with Argentina in 2001 is a very good one, and because of that, that there is indeed a very good chance that policy-makers in Greece in 2011 will reach the same conclusion that policy-makers in Argentina did in 2002.

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This is US. We have done all of this.

by: Daniel Becker
This is very important.  It is a list of all we have done in the world.   Go take a look.  It won’t take long.  I’ll wait for you to return.

That we do not teach about this in our schools is why we are who we are.  This list should be a banner which is run along the bottom of every news cast for as long as we are involved in such activity or when a new such action is proposed.  It should be a page in every Sunday newspaper edition for as long as we are involved or when a new such action is proposed.

Most of all, this list and the banner should start with the following words: “You have done all of the following…”  I say “you” because such actions need to remain personal.   It is always personal.  Yes, you and me personally have done all of this.  Don’t start thinking that the use of robotics removes you from the equation.  Don’t fall for that psych-ops.  You, me, we still are the one’s pulling the trigger.  We did this.  All of this. 

We’re broke? We have to sacrifice? What do we have to sacrifice, our dignity? Our integraty? Do you like someone doing all this in your name? Your name is on it. Don’t make that mistake thinking it’s not.

Oh, it’s only about the money at this blog? Well, you’re the private sector, you, me and we. Is this how you would choose to spend your Nth dollar? Is this how you would choose to spend your vaction money, your retirement money, your holiday gift money? I mean, it’s all extra spending anyway. Gee, you have no extra? Well then, is this how you would choose to spend your grocery money, your heating money (just filled my tank, $3.59/gal), your insurance money, your TAX money?

Is the private sector spending it better than the government sector? How can you tell? See, private or government, it’s still US. You pulled the trigger. I pulled the trigger by inclusion. We pulled the trigger.

And the rest of the world knows it.

In case you did not go to the link, here is the first list:
US interventions taken for sole purpose of regime change since 1945:

1946 – Thailand (Pridi; conservative): success (Covert operation)
1946 – Argentina (Peron; military/centrist): failure (Subverted election)
1947 – France (communist): success (Subverted election)
1947 – Philippines (center-left): success (Subverted election)
1947 – Romania (Gheorghiu-Dej; stalinist): failure (Covert operation)
1948 – Italy (communist): success (Subverted election)
1948 – Colombia (Gaitan; populist/leftist): success (Subverted election)
1948 – Peru (Bustamante; left/centrist): success (Covert operation)
1949 – Syria (Kuwatli; neutralist/Pan-Arabist): success (Covert operation)
1949 – China (Mao; communist): failure (Covert operation)
1950 – Albania (Hoxha; communist): failure (Covert operation)
1951 – Bolivia (Paz; center/neutralist): success (Covert operation)
1951 – DPRK (Kim; stalinist): failure (Overt force)
1951 – Poland (Cyrankiewicz; stalinist): failure (Covert operation)
1951 – Thailand (Phibun; conservative): success (Covert operation)
1952 – Egypt (Farouk; monarchist): success (Covert operation)
1952 – Cuba (Prio; reform/populist): success (Covert operation)
1952 – Lebanon (left/populist): success: (Subverted election)
1953 – British Guyana (left/populist): success (Covert operation)
1953 – Iran (Mossadegh; liberal nationalist): success (Covert operation)
1953 – Costa Rica (Figueres; reform liberal): failure (Covert operation)
1953 – Philippines (center-left): success (Subverted election)
1954 – Guatemala (Arbenz; liberal nationalist): success (Overt force)
1955 – Costa Rica (Figueres; reform liberal): failure (Covert operation)
1955 – India (Nehru; neutralist/socialist): failure (Covert operation)
1955 – Argentina (Peron; military/centrist): success (Covert operation)
1955 – China (Zhou; communist): failure (Covert operation)
1955 – Vietnam (Ho; communist): success (Subverted election)
1956 – Hungary (Hegedus; communist): success (Covert operation)
1957 – Egypt (Nasser; military/nationalist): failure (Covert operation)
1957 – Haiti (Sylvain; left/populist): success (Covert operation)
1957 – Syria (Kuwatli; neutralist/Pan-Arabist): failure (Covert operation)
1958 – Japan (left-center): success (Subverted election)
1958 – Chile (leftists): success (Subverted election)
1958 – Iraq (Feisal; monarchist): success (Covert operation)
1958 – Laos (Phouma; nationalist): success (Covert operation)
1958 – Sudan (Sovereignty Council; nationalist): success (Covert operation)
1958 – Lebanon (leftist): success (Subverted election)
1958 – Syria (Kuwatli; neutralist/Pan-Arabist): failure (Covert operation)
1958 – Indonesia (Sukarno; militarist/neutralist): failure (Subverted election)
1959 – Laos (Phouma; nationalist): success (Covert operation)
1959 – Nepal (left-centrist): success (Subverted election)
1959 – Cambodia (Sihanouk; moderate/neutralist): failure (CO)
1960 – Ecuador (Ponce; left/populist): success (Covert operation)
1960 – Laos (Phouma; nationalist): success (Covert operation)
1960 – Iraq (Qassem; rightist /militarist): failure (Covert operation)
1960 – S. Korea (Syngman; rightist): success (Covert operation)
1960 – Turkey (Menderes; liberal): success (Covert operation)
1961 – Haiti (Duvalier; rightist/militarist): success (Covert operation)
1961 – Cuba (Castro; communist): failure (Covert operation)
1961 – Congo (Lumumba; leftist/pan-Africanist): success (Covert operation)
1961 – Dominican Republic (Trujillo; rightwing/military): success (Covert operation)
1962 – Brazil (Goulart; liberal/neutralist): failure (Subverted election)
1962 – Dominican Republic ( left/populist): success (Subverted election)
1962 – Indonesia (Sukarno; militarist/neutralist): failure (Covert operation)
1963 – Dominican Republic (Bosch; social democrat): success (Covert operation)
1963 – Honduras (Montes; left/populist): success (Covert operation)
1963 – Iraq (Qassem; militarist/rightist): success (Covert operation)
1963 – S. Vietnam (Diem; rightist): success (Covert operation)
1963 – Cambodia (Sihanouk; moderate/neutralist): failure (Covert operation)
1963 – Guatemala (Ygidoras; rightist/reform): success (Covert operation)
1963 – Ecuador (Velasco; reform militarist): success (Covert operation)
1964 – Guyana (Jagan; populist/reformist): success (Covert operation)
1964 – Bolivia (Paz; centrist/neutralist): success (Covert operation)
1964 – Brazil (Goulart; liberal/neutralist): success (Covert operation)
1964 – Chile (Allende; social democrat/marxist): success (Subverted election)
1965 – Indonesia (Sukarno; militarist/neutralist): success (Covert operation)
1966 – Ghana (Nkrumah; leftist/pan-Africanist): success (Covert operation)
1966 – Bolivia (leftist): success (Subverted election)
1966 – France (de Gaulle; centrist): failure (Covert operation)
1967 – Greece (Papandreou; social democrat): success (Covert operation)
1968 – Iraq (Arif; rightist): success (Covert operation)
1969 – Panama (Torrijos; military/reform populist): failure (Covert operation)
1969 – Libya (Idris; monarchist): success (Covert operation)
1970 – Bolivia (Ovando; reform nationalist): success (Covert operation)
1970 – Cambodia (Sihanouk; moderate/neutralist): success (Covert operation)
1970 – Chile (Allende; social democrat/Marxist): failure (Subverted election)
1971 – Bolivia (Torres; nationalist/neutralist): success (Covert operation)
1971 – Costa Rica (Figueres; reform liberal): failure (Covert operation)
1971 – Liberia (Tubman; rightist): success (Covert operation)
1971 – Turkey (Demirel; center-right): success (Covert operation)
1971 – Uruguay (Frente Amplio; leftist): success (Subverted election)
1972 – El Salvador (leftist): success (Subverted election)
1972 – Australia (Whitlam; liberal/labor): failure (Subverted election)
1973 – Chile (Allende; social democrat/Marxist): success (Covert operation)
1975 – Australia (Whitlam; liberal/labor): success (Covert operation)
1975 – Congo (Mobutu; military/rightist): failure (Covert operation)
1975 – Bangladesh (Mujib; nationalist): success (Covert operation)
1976 – Jamaica (Manley; social democrat): failure (Subverted election)
1976 – Portugal (JNS; military/leftist): success (Subverted election)
1976 – Nigeria (Mohammed; military/nationalist): success (Covert operation)
1976 – Thailand (rightist): success (Covert operation)
1976 – Uruguay (Bordaberry; center-right): success (Covert operation)
1977 – Pakistan (Bhutto: center/nationalist): success (Covert operation)
1978 – Dominican Republic (Balaguer; center): success (Subverted election)
1979 – S. Korea (Park; rightist): success (Covert operation)
1979 – Nicaragua (Sandinistas; leftist): failure (Covert operation)
1980 – Bolivia (Siles; centrist/reform): success (Covert operation)
1980 – Iran (Khomeini; Islamic nationalist): failure (Covert operation)
1980 – Italy (leftist): success (Covert operation)
1980 – Liberia (Tolbert; rightist): success (Covert operation)
1980 – Jamaica (Manley; social democrat): success (Subverted election)
1980 – Dominica (Seraphin; leftist): success (Subverted election)
1980 – Turkey (Demirel; center-right): success (Covert operation)
1981 – Seychelles (René; socialist): failure (Covert operation)
1981 – Spain (Suarez; rightist/neutralist): failure (Covert operation)
1981 – Panama (Torrijos; military/reform populist); success (Covert operation)
1981 – Zambia (Kaunda; reform nationalist): failure (Covert operation)
1982 – Mauritius (center-left): failure (Subverted election)
1982 – Spain (Suarez; rightist/neutralist): success (Subverted election)
1982 – Iran (Khomeini; Islamic nationalist): failure (Covert operation)
1982 – Chad (Oueddei; Islamic nationalist): success (Covert operation)
1983 – Mozambique (Machel; socialist): failure (Covert operation)
1983 – Grenada (Bishop; socialist): success (Overt force)
1984 – Panama (reform/centrist): success (Subverted election)
1984 – Nicaragua (Sandinistas; leftist): failure (Subverted election)
1984 – Surinam (Bouterse; left/reformist/neutralist): success (Covert operation)
1984 – India (Gandhi; nationalist): success (Covert operation)
1986 – Libya (Qaddafi; Islamic nationalist): failure (Overt force)
1987 – Fiji (Bavrada; liberal): success (Covert operation)
1989 – Panama (Noriega; military/reform populist): success (Overt force)
1990 – Haiti (Aristide; liberal reform): failure (Subverted election)
1990 – Nicaragua (Ortega; Christian socialist): success (Subverted election)
1991 – Albania (Alia; communist): success (Subverted election)
1991 – Haiti (Aristide; liberal reform): success (Covert operation)
1991 – Iraq (Hussein; military/rightist): failure (Overt force)
1991 – Bulgaria (BSP; communist): success (Subverted election)
1992 – Afghanistan (Najibullah; communist): success (Covert operation)
1993 – Somalia (Aidid; right/militarist): failure (Overt force)
1993 – Cambodia (Han Sen/CPP; leftist): failure (Subverted election)
1993 – Burundi (Ndadaye; conservative): success (Covert operation)
1994 – El Salvador (leftist): success (Subverted election)
1994 – Rwanda (Habyarimana; conservative): success (Covert operation)
1994 – Ukraine (Kravchuk; center-left): success (Subverted election)
1996 – Bosnia (Karadzic; centrist): success (Covert operation)
1996 – Congo (Mobutu; military/rightist): success (Covert operation)
1996 – Mongolia (center-left): success (Subverted election)
1998 – Congo (Kabila; rightist/military): success (Covert operation)
1998 – Indonesia (Suharto; military/rightist): success (Covert operation)
1999 – Yugoslavia (Milosevic; left/nationalist): success (Subverted election)
2000 – Ecuador (NSC; leftist): success: (Covert operation)
2001 – Afghanistan (Omar; rightist/Islamist): success (Overt force)
2001 – Belarus (Lukashenko; leftist): failure (Subverted election)
2001 – Nicaragua (Ortega; Christian socialist): success (Subverted election)
2001 – Nepal (Birendra; nationalist/monarchist): success (Covert operation)
2002 – Venezuela (Chavez; reform-populist): failure (Covert operation)
2002 – Bolivia (Morales; leftist/MAS): success (Subverted election)
2002 – Brazil (Lula; center-left): failure (Subverted election)

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World Water and ho hum

David Zetland at Aguanomics suggests that the problems worldwide with water for drinking and as importantly sanitation receives little attention. I like the poll on his site which suggests for the US that floods or droughts are the main driving force getting us to notice, or special interests.

World Water WTF

Today (March 22) is the annual circus of “look at me” articles, press releases, conferences and speeches by people and for people with attention-spans of a goldfish.
Not my scene, so I am I’m giving you a break from the fracas, with BONUS funnies that put things in context

and help with priorities

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