A Quiet Corner of Disney’s Hollywood Studio by Samantha Decker
Via Flickr:
<a href=“http://www.ttgphoto.com” rel=“nofollow”>Read my blog</a> &nbsp; | &nbsp; <a href=“https://www.facebook.com/ttgphotoblog” rel=“nofollow”>Like me on Facebook</a> &nbsp; | &nbsp; <a href=“http://www.twitter.com/sdeckerphoto” rel=“nofollow”>Follow me on Twitter</a> This corner of the Disney’s Hollywood Studos is relatively quiet. There were people in this photo, but they were walking fast enough that they are barely visible. <i>All rights reserved. <a href=“http://www.pixsy.com” rel=“nofollow”>Protected with PIXSY</a>.</i>

Why Don't We Know Much About Right-Wing Terrorists? Conservatives Fired The Guy Studying Them
Since 9/11 more Americans have died on U.S. soil from right-wing terrorism than from Islamic terrorism and conservatives don't want you to know about it.

After a mass shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, left nine people dead and a right-wing white supremacist arrested, the country once again faces the uneasy question of just how many so-called “home-grown” terrorists are out there – heavily armed, ideologically driven, and violent.

It’s a good question, but it may be tough to answer because for reasons that are astoundingly dimwitted, the Department of Homeland Security pushed out the guy who was in charge of watching them, and dismantled his team all the way back in 2009.

The beleaguered hero of this story is Daryl Johnson, a top government counterterrorism analyst working at Homeland Security who spent six years with the agency amassing a wealth of data on far-right extremist groups that posed various degrees of threat to citizens in the United States. In 2009, in the months after President Obama assumed office, he watched as these groups veered even further right, and began to fear that America’s first African-American president could be the catalyst of a major uptick in hate crimes and anti-government attacks.

In a landmark report released just months into Obama’s term, and now looks downright clairvoyant, Johnson made the case that radical Islam is only a small piece of the terrorism pie:

“Do not overlook other types of terrorist groups,” the report warned, noting that five purely domestic groups had considered using weapons of mass destruction in that period. Similar warnings have been issued by the two principal non-government groups that track domestic terrorism: the New York-based Anti-Defamation League and the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center.

An annual tally by the latter group of what it calls “Terror From the Right” listed 13 major incidents and arrests last year, nearly double the annual number in previous years; the group also reported the number of hate groups had topped 1,000 in 2010, for the first time in at least two decades.

In response to that report, Johnson was destroyed. It wasn’t his integrity or claims that got him in trouble, his facts were solid. Instead, it was the inconvenient truth that much of the threat comes from right-wing conservatives, and even more awkwardly, radical right-wing conservatives who say and think a lot of the same things mainstream right-wing conservatives say and think.

Conservative pundits and politicians were incensed by these facts laid bare and demanded heads roll. DHS officials caved and Johnson was shoved out.

Since his departure, Johnson has only been vindicated. President Obama has faced an unprecedented amount of death threats, hate groups have gained ground (and in places like Bundy Ranch actually boldly stood up to the U.S. Government – and won), and, as we’ve seen, white supremacist attacks are occurring with disturbing regularity. In 2012, Johnson gave an interview with Wired magazine where he said:

“DHS is scoffing at the mission of doing domestic counterterrorism, as is Congress,” Johnson tells Danger Room. “There’ve been no hearings about the rising white supremacist threat, but there’s been a long list of attacks over the last few years. But they still hold hearings about Muslim extremism. It’s out of balance.”

We’re reminded of that imbalance again this week. In fact, the evidence has been around us for some time. In an uneasy coincidence, just one day before a white supremacist massacred unarmed men and women in a South Carolina church, the New York Times published an article reminding Americans that right-wing extremism is a clear and present danger. They couldn’t have known how soon they’d be proven right.

[R]ight-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities, according to a study by Arie Perliger, a professor at the United States Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center. The toll has increased since the study was released in 2012.

Other data sets, using different definitions of political violence, tell comparable stories. The Global Terrorism Database maintained by the Start Center at the University of Maryland includes 65 attacks in the United States associated with right-wing ideologies and 24 by Muslim extremists since 9/11. The International Security Program at the New America Foundation identifies 39 fatalities from “non-jihadist” homegrown extremists and 26 fatalities from “jihadist” extremists.

But the DHS and most Americans still remain consumed by fears of Islamic terror attacks. That stubborn refusal to face reality does two things: It allows many dangerous people to go unnoticed until they hurt people and it allows the right-wing ideologues who overtly or subconsciously encourage these people (think Texas Gov. Greg Abbott feeding “Obama is invading Texas” conspiracy theories) to wash their hands of it once something inevitably happens. If no one is studying the links, then no one can speak up about what is happening.

And this will play out again and again, until our nation wakes up and realizes the lives of minorities, the safety of children, and truly combating terrorism in all its forms demands that we put our deference to conservative feelings aside and look at the rotting underbelly of the radical right-wing. Pretending it’s not there just isn’t working.

NOTE: Daryl Johnson, the author of the 2009 DHS Report on Right Wing Extremism, is a staunch Republican and Mormon.

H/T: Jameson Parker at Addicting Info

BREAKING: Selfie Sticks To Be Completely Banned from Walt Disney World Theme Parks, Not Just On Theme Park Attractions

The ongoing war on selfie sticks at Walt Disney World has taken a more drastic turn. You may remember when we told you that the sticks were not allowed to be taken out on any rides or attractions a few months ago, well, now selfie sticks won’t even be allowed through security

By July 2015, guests will not be permitted to even bring these items into any of the Walt Disney World theme parks due to safety concerns imposed by the items being brought onto rides (and the rather careless ways some guests use them when not on attractions). Guest relations cast members will be assigned to the security screening areas in front of all of the parks to assist the security cast in dealing with guests trying to bring their “selfie sticks” in. If found, guests can opt to take the stick with them and leave, or they can check it with the guest relations cast member who will have the item stored, give the guest a ticket, and request that they retrieve the item upon leaving the park later that day.

We don’t have an exact date for when this policy will be going into effect, but it should be sometime very soon, before July 2015 in fact.

Stay tuned for more details as they become available.


TSA misses 96% of explosives and weapons smuggled by undercover agents - UPDATE: TSA Director reassigned

According to a report, of the 70 times undercover agents tried to sneak explosives and weapons past TSA security agents, the TSA missed 67 of them. That’s a failure rate of 96% - Even with the naked scanners and the special groping. But hey, that’s not bad for government, I guess.

From ABC News:

An internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration revealed security failures at dozens of the nation’s busiest airports, where undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials, ABC News has learned.

The series of tests were conducted by Homeland Security Red Teams who pose as passengers, setting out to beat the system.

According to officials briefed on the results of a recent Homeland Security Inspector General’s report, TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, with Red Team members repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints.

In one test an undercover agent was stopped after setting off an alarm at a magnetometer, but TSA screeners failed to detect a fake explosive device that was taped to his back during a follow-on pat down.
Officials would not divulge the exact time period of the testing other than to say it concluded recently.

Read the Rest

It’s one thing to give up liberty for actual security. It’s quite another to give up liberty for no reason at all.

I don’t want to pretend that it’s an easy task to catch every evil person trying to do others harm. But I remember in the wake of 9/11, the feds created the TSA and took over the security at airports, train stations and other transportation locations, ostensibly to make us safer. But I can’t imagine that the success rate for the pre-9/11 private security firms was worse than 4%.

This is a *perfect* example of how government operates in general. When something bad happens, whether it be a terrorist attack or an economic recession or some other real or perceived crisis, the government inevitably comes in to fix the problem and a new (usually permanent) federal agency, program or regulation is born that generally makes things worse than before. The New Deal, the post-Great Depression bank regulations, Social Security, The War on Poverty, Obamacare, etc. I could go on and on. Virtually every massive government program came into existence as the result of some crisis that we were told (by the government, of course) could only be solved by government. The TSA is no different.

Only the government can “fix” something until it’s broken, and then legally force people to keep funding it.

UPDATE: The TSA director has been reassigned due to his whopping 4% success rate of catching fake bad guys. In the real world, he would have gotten fired (or never hired in the first place). But in government world, he gets “reassigned” where he’ll no doubt have a cushy job until he retires with a 6-figure pension. Yay!


In light of the announcement that The Magic of Disney Animation shall soon close I’d like to do a sort of time hop. To show you guys that even though the closure of this area is rough, it’s nothing compared to what the closure of the real studio aspect of it was back in the 2000′s. SO here is a glimpse of sorts, back into the past through the lens of full house. Showing all of you just how amazing visiting this area really was, in short you got to visit a real animation studio for a day. And all you needed was a ticket to the park. In the clip you’ll see legendary Disney Animation artist Mark Henn showing uncle joey a thing or too. Enjoy, and rip Magic of Disney Animation.