Shareef: ‘What r U wearing now?’ Cambone: ‘Hey ! Get off my drone. I’m telling Rummy!’

So Shareef’s been hacking into our business. Doing more than changing Petraeus’ Facebook page status to ‘backed up’.

Naturally, many of us (us meaning the Stiftung and an unholy consortia of military industrial, networking, technology and software ‘patriots’) spoke openly about the dangers of easily hacked tactical airborne intelligence (video and otherwise) to anyone who would listen in OSD, including Ron Sega among many others. To paraphrase ‘Apocalypse Now’ ‘we warn you long time.’ It wasn’t even mostly altruism. For contractors and government sales reps it’s always mercenary – there be gold in dem der hills, me buckos. Especially in selling worst case scenarios. Although to be fair, even if the contractors had been on the the level more than 50% of the time it wouldn’t have mattered. Rummy’s OSD culture was insultingly impatient and contemptuous for ‘planners’ talking about ‘consequences’. No coordination. Everyone wanted in the game. Fast action/fast kill. Warnings? Clintonian, Democratic (CIA, too) defeatism. Pre-911 wimps.

Pwned!  Allah Akbar!  Pay Up!  A New Humvee With GPS And An iPod!

We have to laugh. Iraqi insurgents seeing what Uncle Sam saw in real time for about $30 – and we doubt they bothered with licensing issues. That $30 probably covered software for a province or two and all of China. So many people scrambling post 9/11 trying to get COTS (commercial off the shelf) tech to the warfighter. No understanding that COTS leveled the playing field. Or that the enemy likely could get and use COTS faster than DoD. At least in meetings we attended various entities pleaded to meet the smallest, newest, oddest (to them) start ups. And weaponize the shite out it yesterday. It’s no wonder Iraq turned into the nightmare Radio Shack. You know, the one where all the 8 year old boys try to fly their radio controlled helicopters on the same channel? While the ten year olds 2 aisles over swamp the frequency with their Optimus Prime voice changers, etc.

Encryption we learn didn’t *start* until April of this year. It’ll take years to sort out and debug the frequency spectrum utilization issues. Meanwhile, we’ve been operating this particular unit while knowingly compromised. It defies — no, wait, in fact it is perfectly believable and par for the course. Rest assured that all platforms and all frequencies and all data networks are ‘fixed’. A long time ago. You’d be a normal American if you asked ‘ Why should they be any more competent in this particular case?’ It does make one feel a little less like Festivus.

Inept U.S. planning, execution and operational security since 2001 have allowed the Russians, Indians, Iranians and Chinese to go to school against us tuition free. In many ways. This drone matter gave them an open seat along side part of our our decision loop, shoulder to shoulder. This breach was low level. The Russians, Iranians, Chinese et al. would attack the riotous other less than secure targets in more sophisticated ways. One must presume Al-Qaeda least audited the drone hacking course. Not to mention Iraqi high school kids. God help us when we reap the whirlwind.


Some personal Bunker administrative notes follow. If that’s extraneous arcana then by all means punt.

First, D.C. according to reports is due a 20″ snow storm. 3 snow flakes normally brings the city to its knees. We’ve not sure what to expect. Could cannibalism break out? Savage, crazed clawing for the conch, the contenders standing atop a mound of trampled Liberty University interns? With Michael Steele screaming ‘What up?’ Crisis brings out the truth in one’s soul. We expect primeval bone smacking and bellowing in front of black obelisks (road condition signs). Our waning interest in ‘Avatar’ just got up and . . . waned.

A Change In Key You Can Believe In

Second, we may or may not post. It’s not a question of Comcast shutting the Stiftung down for being mean to Rachel Maddow. We decided to completely re-think the Bunker’s affiliate studio, Bunker Studio & Sound, LTD (BS&S). A snow storm offers the ideal chance to brain storm.

BS&S exists for the sole purpose of writing, demo-ing and recording audio-visual multimedia to further the ideas/ideals of our cozy family here. The staples are covered. Birthers? Check. Sanford and C Street? Rick Warren? Check. And so on. We also have projects on the burner. The Conrad Incarceration Blues could be a winner. And other hard to find gems like Jonah and the Whale. Our tools are pretty basic: American Standard Strat, SG Special (3 humbucker), MIDI trigger keyboards, microphones, etc. BS&S reported to shareholders it would produce an EP, 4-5 songs by Q4 2009. To support the mutlimedia we envisioned intended two different approaches:

1) directly feed the guitars into a computer via a pre-amp to digital audio workstation software. We use Apogee and Apple stuff. Many swear by Pro Tools or Cubase, etc. The software ‘models’ various amps and effects; and

2) use a small, live traditional ‘amp’ with a microphone placed near it (say a Shure 57) to capture a non-synthetic amp sound.

Earlier we wrote how happy we were with a small Fender tube amp. Tubes give guitars ‘warmer’ tones. The Fender added microchip modeling after the tube signal. It could ‘pretend’ to sound like an 1990s alternative band, 80s New Wave, etc. It’s real forte was simply sounding like itself. It’s not powerful. It’s easy to mike, use and tuck away.

A couple of problems emerged, delaying BS&S LTD. First, the Fender amp couldn’t handle the SG Special III. It’s LOUD even for an SG. Gain and volume down don’t help. The Strat naturally is fine – single coil pickups out to a Fender amp. Plus, if we want to cheat? We’ve been known to blend in a Pod for 100% synthetic effects. Fake, simulated sound is ideal for say a fake, simulated grass roots movement? So you see where we’re going with this.

Crikey, I Don't See The Bleeding Playstation Connection!

BS&S got a new 100% tube set up. We like it but are still unsure. The new rig is an Egnater 30 watt head and a 12″ cab (cabinet speaker). It’s got two channels and that’s about it. Dear Reader, it’s not perfect. We’d love to offer perfection. Compared to other famous tube amp heads, it’s got physically smaller Chinese tubes (you can see them in the photo). It’s loud. We’re not wedded to it but will play more over the weekend. Of course it’s much bigger than the mini-Fender. Jennifer Granholm would be proud. Egnater is headquartered in Michigan. They foster a custom ‘design’ rep. This rig? Made in China. Who do they think they are? Apple? First note to Governor Granholm — get Egnater to move those jobs back to frickin’ Michigan! These are assembly jobs. No rocket science here.Oh Yeah, We're Just As Powerful. Egnater Is From Michigan. Isn't That Enough Proof?

Egnater also appears to consume hallucinogens with breakfast. In overly exuberant marketing, the claim is this modestly sized rig in the pictures above actually is as subjectively loud as a 100 watt amp with four 12″ speakers. You know, the ones on stage for an ice hockey arena gig. Egnater’s ‘dirty channel’ can give that sub-audible kick in the chest. But it’s no where near close. Second note to Governor Granholm – advise the few companies making a go of it in Michigan like Egnater to embellish less.

And therein lies the rub. It feels at least of this moment a compromise. 30 watts is sufficient to give loud drive to a certain point. But 30 does not have enough ‘headroom’ (power to spare) for really clean, effortless, non-distorted ‘punch.’ If Egnater weren’t hallucinating, they’d know the difference with say the old 100 watt DR-103 Hiwatts. So this middle ground feels like a void. If 30 watts is probably too much for the BS&S LTD studio, it’s obvious that a stadium-filling Hiwatt rig is pure vanity/insanity. Still we would abuse TARP money like Wall Street and snag an old DR-103 in a Goldman Sachs minute. And send thank you cards to Timmy, Bernanke, the taxpayer and our Chinese overlords.

We’d be curious what thoughts you might have, Dear Reader. Any experiences or preferences you’d care to share are welcome. As always.


  1. DrLeoStrauss says

    Will resume full blogging on January 4th, please forgive — just upgraded studio monitors and got pulled down into the pleasant pit of ‘musical’ noodling. The difference in the kick drum sound alone is an eye-opener. As this basic assessment underscores, capturing and reproducing a kick drum is almost a lightening-in-a-bottle thing.

    Back to the raison d’etre of the blog shortly.

  2. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Praising technical support when due. Apogee is an American manufacturer of digital music interfaces, among other things. We’ve had a terrific customer support experience to share.

    We use Apogee to record guitars and microphones into Macs (sorry, no MSFT versions). Lately we’ve tried to channel reactions to events positively by working on a ‘Ballad of Barry’ (BoB).

    BoB is going to be a deliberately basic three chord track (E-D-A, G-A-D, G-D-A/Am, etc.). Seeking a rawness both cathartic and evocative. Depending on guitar and amp voicing one can explore (rip off?) ‘Clampdown’, ‘Lawyers, Guns and Money’, to ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’, ‘Sympathy’ and ‘I Can’t Explain’, etc. Most of you probably already know an astonishing number of popular ‘classics’ just re-work these three chords anyway. (The song posted a few days earlier famously only 2 chords).

    We’ve got two guitars as long time readers know, a SG Special with 3 humbuckers and 6 position chicken switch and an American Standard Strat. That SG remains the loudest guitar we’ve ever picked up.

    The other night the Apogee unit just died. Flatlined. Right about when Laurence O’Donnell came on the tv. (Coincidence?)

    We just started working on BoB’s crucial middle eight. (Think ‘Don’t cry, don’t raise your eye . . .’) We wanted some thing with melodic flow but it had to um, peter out deliberately. Let down the listener. The splendor of his aimless equivocating duplicated aurally. No Apogee meant musical hackitude interruptus. At the height of holiday season.

    We called California with resignation. They sent an email with a customer support number to include when mailing the unit back. Like anything was going to happen soon given the holidays. We figured January, maybe.

    Today, we received via FedEx overnight a brand new unit. No questions, hassles or anything. Will it be more reliable than its predecessor? We’ll see. But kudos to Apogee for the effort.

    Now, it’ true we could and did use our normal amps. But the dbs we’re contemplating would galvanize the homeowner’s association, which makes Calvin’s Geneva seem like the Haight. It’s easier to control matters via Apogee and into the computer, albeit sonically less than perfect.

    Our day dream, ideal situation would be to have ‘The Ballad of Barry’ finalized. And rehearsed. It’s performance captured on video, culminating in the Metzger-esque destruction of both guitar (definitely the SG) and twin 4×12 Fane stacks driven by 2 Custom 100 DR-103 100 watt HiWatts. A paean to the past, of course — they remain the greatest live experience we’ve ever seen back in the 1970s. But also a sonic bludgeon. To underscore why Pelosi has a pair and Obama’s just a Ken.

    Alas, that fantasy rig is not only a prohibitively expensive collector’s item. Practically, it would generate sheer volume sterilizing frogs 25 kilometers away. Just plugging in would probably bring down facility security from a local XYZ bastion. Worse, the homeowner’s association would mobilize.

    So instead we play into a Mac. With headphones it’s as close as we’re ever gonna get. It’s not like a finished BoB executed with sheer sonic power would matter, anyway. Obama’s iPod would remain clogged with the manufactured stylings of Rihanna (you should check this out) –

    Beyonce, Cold Play, U2 et al. ‘Cuz you heard him the other day. He’s just itching to fight. Two years from now. Itching. That’s just how he rolls.

    Thanks to Apogee we can dream of a better world. Happy holidays to good customer service!

  3. Comment says

    Larry King airing a 1998 interview with Tiger — We’ve always admired Tiger’s committment to excellence – It’s sad to see the media slobs going after him.

  4. Comment says

    McCain has taken to calling the health care bill a Bernie Madoff bill – then he smiles and laughs at his own joke.

    Can you imagine how easy it would be to get McCain to blow a gasket on TV if someone said: “Bernie Madoff? That’s cute, did Charlie Keating write that joke for you?”

  5. Comment says

    In that interviw above Black alludes back to Keating 5. IMO McCain got implicated in that because of some consistant flaws in his nature. He’s just a hothead who does not really think things thru. So it was obvious and predicatble when he castigated Al Franken for supposedly discourtesy that it would turn out he did the same thing that Franken did – McCain probably got involved with Keating because he thought that was the anti liberal thing to do.

  6. Comment says

    Just want to make one more point about Frank Rich — His linking of Tiger to Iraq WMD fails because the truth that that WMD lies were known by many before the war is very different than knowing Tiger was a something of a bad husband. It usually assumed by many that athletes have problematic social lives – but no one cares, really. The fact that not enough cared about wmd lies is sad – but a very different thing.

  7. anxiousmodernman says

    Another Soyuz rocket launched today. Very interesting to see what was solid out of the USSR and what was not.

    My high school in TX had about 50 consumer-grade, late Soviet double lens reflex cameras. Those weren’t so good at all. It was recommended that we use them for the “cool” effects that the flawed lenses would produce, if the film weren’t prematurely exposed by a crack in the housing.

    Didn’t know that about the tubes. Googling reveals that the corporation that still makes them in Russia was being “raided” in 2006. I don’t really know what being “raided” means in the context of Russian business.

  8. Comment says

    “As set forth earlier in this Report, the Digital Incentive Plan was unreasonably excessive because it awarded Digital executives, including Perle, up to 22% of the profits on the portfolio’s individual profitable investments without netting losses from the portfolio’s unsuccessful investments…”

    We decided to read the Special Report.

  9. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Anxious, you might be amused to hear that Bruce Egnater said he used Sovtek tubes for their reliability. (I assumed he used Chinese). It may seem an oxymoron given that Soviet era production and quality control were truly abysmal. Otoh, their vacuum tube stuff was solid as a rock. We found this out when Belenko defected with his MiG-25 to Japan. Tubes everywhere. No solid state. Americans at first mocked primitive Ivan – until it dawned on TPTB that those rock sturdy vacuum tubes would be more likely to withstand EMP, etc. Crazy like a fox. we get a kick seeing kids who have no memory of the Soviet Union swear by the Sovteks, etc.

  10. Comment says

    IMO – the Iraq war was sold falsely and was/is indefensible on legal grounds or national security grounds.

    But to see how decadent our MSM is – see how they seem to revel in the fact that the US won’t even get oil contracts, just because that will
    make the left look bad at cocktail parties.

    In fact – stealing Iraq’s oil was the one defensible idea, in theory — Since it could, in theory, undercut some nasty regimes and put leverage on others.

    So watch them chuckle as other countries are rewarded by our troops war –

  11. Comment says

    IMO – India’s carbon boom will not really change the climate debate in the USA because most Americans already think of India as a hot place – It does not matter that ‘climate’ is different than ‘weather’ – You can hear most conservative pundits dance at the technically irrelevant cold wether on a particular day. It probably does not help when the other side claims every hurricane as man made.
    So people will always think of a modern air conditioned India as ‘cooler’ even though it is hotter, whilst China status as
    frenemy and the hot peppers in Chinese take out, along with the infra re hot feel of of Chicom agitprop – will assist in making Chinese carbon, hot carbon.

  12. Comment says

    It really is amazing how cheap our pols are compared to Russia and far east. Think about how muchm money the British had to fork over to Colin POwell’s buddy Prince Bandar – something like 300 million? A year? Then his wife gives subsidies to people who blow up our buildings?
    Compare that to Harvard law grad William Jefferson stickinh 90k in his freezer or Harrison Williams with his abscam etc. Or think about Brooklyn pols and New Jersey pols giving contracts for 5000k?

  13. anxiousmodernman says


    Record the guitar stuff into your 57. That’s a great mic that can do it all for the price (the sky’s really the limit on what you can spend on mics).

    Remember that you can always add software effects to the clean recorded track. Production is like good scholarship: the higher quality of your “source” material yields a better result in the end.

    The clean punch is hard to achieve. Push your amp just enough and then play around with the graphic EQ in your recording/tracking software. You ought to be able to get something satisfactory out of that.

    When I was at GW I took a course on electronic music/production. I don’t have the dough for all the toys that were available in that studio, but learning about some fundamental production concepts really changed my whole perception of music.

    I was just down at the library yesterday. The next time I’m there, I’ll try to find a book or some other resource to recommend and post it here.

  14. Comment says

    IMO, the pivot on climate change will happen thus – Newt already showed some ankle – to use a gross metaphore – but pulled back due to the optics of being alligned w/ a marxist muslim President. Anyway , at the week poiint of Obama’s second term or the strong point of his successor, a credibility intelligent conservative will publish something that explains that Gore was wrong to be right, but right to be wrong – or something like that – Then he will note some important GOP contributors that are actually making products to fight Chinese warming.
    By this time China will not just be a bit ahead in emissions – but so far ahead that it will agitate the goofball right like RS McCain and others who are racially anxious.

    Then someone will explain how Gore was objectively pro warming because his Bhuddist funndraising was seen as pro Chinese warming, This won’t make any sense, but Maureen Dowd will note it and make it a meme.

    Gradually – then suddenly.

  15. Dr Leo Strauss says

    A good thing to let Sachs pass. You remain on the high ground. He is deprived of a delicious victimhood narrative — being greeted by a polite question.

    One definitely can see the pivot on climate change and China as a possibility. The other is that China uses its wealth and follows the Japanese and Arab model — they buy U.S. politicians for literally chump change (it’s much more expensive to bribe even minor officials in Asia as a rule). Wal Mart already carries Beijing’s water in many ways. And why not? The Chinese do in fact own the Nation anyway.

  16. Comment says

    Sachs recently was more busy ending world poverty and yelling at Americans for not wanting to write big checks to debatable charity efforts. He sounds , in many ways, like the cartoon liberal that people like Jonah G and others conjure. We have happened tp run into him a few times around Morningside Heights a few years ago – around Tom’s restaurant. We thought about asking him about Russia, but decided to leav the great man alone.
    The politics of climate change are very complicated and , imo, most academics — esp elites like Sachs – do not really understand how to marshall public opinion. They really lack a feel and a respect for politics – So they end up hectoring.

    It’s just not plausible to expect Americans to think they owe the world anything. Esp with so much of the world being governed by savage governments and bad criminals.

    Climate change will become a popular cause in the USA in a number of years – when China widens it’s lead in emissions and so it becomes ‘hawkish’ to be against carbon. A few face saving years will have to pass — but eventually even the Joe Barton’s of Congress will be yelling about Chinese warming etc

  17. Dr Leo Strauss says

    We were on the ground over there when Sachs et al. did so much damage in the name of stupidity, greed and self aggrandizement (this before ‘meme’ really was a coin of the realm and Davos was still obscure ala Bohemian Groves). Gaidar, the former Russian Acting Prime Minister under Yeltsin (briefly), just passed as you may recall. He bought into the shock therapy non-sense. Many of us argued at the time to the Soviets and World Bank – although the Stiftung dealt more with the IFC — better to do it right than half-assed. it was insane to look to other countries in South America or even the Czech example. The Czechs and even the Poles were not comparable. The Czechs still remembered Western liberal democratic norms such as private property and rule of law from before 1948. The Poles since 1944/45.

    It’s funny but there and in the City we argued to the Soviets to ignore the Sachs and other Western consultants. (Much of the ‘aid’ to the fUSSR in Euros or from US AID ended up just making ignorant Western consultants rich and the Russian people saw that. It was a huge geopolitical screw up. And then the Sachs of the world would go to the (Russian) White House or downtown and drop their stack of papers on Chubais’ desk, etc. as if they just delivered real value. We as in the West and America ‘lost’ Russia then needlessly but it didn’t blossom malignantly until the Warlord.

    So what we told them was to follow the Japanese or Chinese development model. The Japanese created the largest wealth transfer to date (this being 1991-1993), more than OPEC. From ash and ruin. There was a one party state but democracy within it and relative freedom of the press.

    We knew from watching IFC small scale privatization efforts (flower stands in Nizhni Novgorod (nee Gorky) and nonsense like that) that the Russian people had absolutely no cultural memory of law, markets, any of it. Some consultants would run around Moscow with a draft bankruptcy law (usually in English) as if this was the vital key. Now we agree that bankruptcy is an essential concept to a functioning market (and noted its absence 2008-2009 in the U.S. except for the average citizen). But in 1991-1993 there was so much more fundamental problems to be addressed – little things, oh, like say, overcoming Soviet obliteration of private property concepts, etc. All of these self appointed ‘experts’ on Russia and markets demanded the precious little resources the World Bank or Brussels had for reimbursement. This was the time when the Stiftung first heard the phrase that a velobound report from say Sachs represented ‘technology.’

    Other, more wise and experienced lawyers and firms got what Sachs et al. missed. Mass privatization in Russia could not proceed cookie cutter ala Hungary (so-so), Poland (better) or Czecho (not bad). It would have to take its own form. Sachs helped kill that.

    Gaidar followed Sachs. And inadvertently anticipated Maximus from ‘Gladiator’ who said ‘On my command, unleash hell.’ Two generations of Russians were wiped out into abject poverty while the kleptocracy ran rampant. Americans by and large don’t get the depth of rage and sense of betrayal that comes with ‘capitalism’ and ‘democracy’ still to this day. Putin economically actually did a bit of what we personally advocated over there, in the City and in D.C. Some commanding heights economic models are proven to work. Oil money allowed Putin to skirt other tough calls for a bit. For a variety of reasons, his persona a major one, what unfolded was in a way both predictable and tragic. Needless to say his domestic political actions and foreign policy are his alone – although Bush-Cheney and the Neocons are complicit. You should know, however, that with everything Putin is immensely and genuinely popular. In a way that ‘Axe’ and ‘Rahm’ can only remember.

    But yes, Sachs is someone who should go shock himself. And Charlie, bless his heart, should consider retirement.

  18. Comment says

    Watching Charlie Rose – It’s hard to overestimate how smug and sanctimonious Jeffrey Sachs is. He is a very annoying pundit – His impatient hectoring of the American people for not wanting to cede favors to China in Copenhage, is most off putting.
    Sachs did not really help Russia too much, did he?

  19. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Great stuff. Amazing to think the talent that has been nurtured and released by Second City. Nice structure yet loose enough for the room for extemporaneous play to audience reaction. We were friends with someone in a non-Hasty Pudding rival (in their minds at least) (and our friend’s son is in the same, wow time flies). All troupes of that nature including Second City follow certain conventions. To have the requisite singing, stage presence, comedic timing (rehearsed of course) and ability to improvise on the fly — heck they might even found a tea bag party one day.

    The talent is undeniable. Don’t know what they are doing today but Second City should take over SNL from Comcast in an LBO. At least it would stop Arianna from promoting dreadfully mediocre stuff so relentlessly.

  20. Comment says

    Maybe we should presume that the insurgents violated software licensing agreements and then take the issue away from DOD and assign the Trade Rep to bring an intellectual property case agains the various tribal violators. Then when the insurgents show up in court to defend their intellectual property theft, we can arrest them.

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