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from Rolfe Winkler:

Afternoon links 1-13

Must Read -- Kyle Bass: Testimony before the FCIC (fcic.gov) Bass is a hedgefunder that made big profits betting against subprime. His testimony has many fascinating facts and figures. [The pie charts on page 9 look familiar.]

Obama to push tax on too-big-to-fail banks (Nasiripour) Not a lot of details: "the planned tax would be imposed in a way that targets firms' riskiest activities, such as proprietary trading. It would be crafted in a way that doesn't affect a financial company's retail banking, so that the cost theoretically would not be passed on to retail customers -- but it wasn't clear exactly how that would work." And will it tax other TBTF firms besides banks? What about insurers? What about GE? Update: WSJ says the tax will target bank liabilities.

Earthquake in Haiti may have killed over 100,000 (Farie/Varner, Bloomberg) The epicenter of the 7.0 magnitude quake was 10 miles from Haiti's capital city.

Google China spat shines spotlight on cyberspying (Prodhan/Lee, Reuters) Google has consistently tried to thread the needle between the revenue opportunities provided by the Chinese market, and the censorship restrictions imposed by the Communist Party. This attack was so egregious that Google said it's had enough.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Bass bets on mortgages

I missed it earlier this week, but Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital put out his most recent letter to investors. The pdf (courtesy of Zero Hedge) is here. Bass made $500 million betting against subprime in 2007, so his opinions are worth careful consideration.

While most stories about the letter focus on the its last page, where Bass notes his "mortgage position" now accounts for nearly 50% of assets under management, some of the most interesting reading is earlier in the letter. Bass is clearly in the hyperinflationary camp, seeing paper currencies as highly risky what with governments worldwide financing huge deficits with the printing press.

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