The Sinister Hand

Whereas, each employee of the Government of the United States is endowed with a measure of trusteeship over the democratic processes which are the heart and sinew of the United States; and

Whereas, it is of vital importance that persons employed in the Federal service be of complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States; and

Whereas . . .
from the preamble to Executive Order 9835, signed into law seventy years ago this week (March 21, 1947) by President Harry Truman

After the opening niceties, EO 9835 directed that all present and prospective State Department employees be subjected to “a loyalty investigation,” those investigating given access to all “pertinent” information — FBI files, military records, police records, school and job records, political affiliations, and “any other appropriate source.” Over the next five years, after some 4 million loyalty checks, the designated boards and tribunals had found “reasonable grounds” (this amended to “reasonable doubts” in the fifth year) to dismiss or not hire 378 people, none of them ever charged with any espionage- or treason-related crime.

Many historians regard EO 9835 as being politically motivated. In the 1946 Congressional elections the Republican Party had made the postwar Red Scare a central issue, promising to find and topple the “pink puppets in control of the federal bureaucracy.” When the Republicans swept the elections, gaining control of both houses of Congress, Truman hoped his “loyalty oath” would satisfy the anti-Communist lobby. Instead, EO 9835 emboldened J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, created the Attorney General’s List of Subversive Organizations, energized the House Un-American Activities Committee, and opened the door for Senator Joe McCarthy — one of those Republicans elected in 1946 on the anti-Red platform.

Historians also connect these and related Cold War developments to the origins of America’s modern security state. In The Devil’s Chessboard, David Talbot argues that the key power player in this formative era was Allen Dulles, a corporate lawyer who transitioned to intelligence gathering during WWII and then became director of the nascent CIA from 1953 to 1961. As a youth, Dulles loved chess; as director, says Talbot, he “liked to think he was the hand of the king, but if so, he was the left hand — the sinister hand”:

Allen Dulles outmaneuvered and outlived Franklin Roosevelt. He stunned Harry Truman, who signed the CIA into existence in 1947, by turning the agency into a Cold War colossus far more powerful and lethal than anything Truman had imagined. Eisenhower gave Dulles immense license to fight the administration’s shadow war against Communism, but at the end of his presidency, Ike concluded that Dulles had robbed him of his place in history as a peacemaker and left him nothing but “a legacy of ashes.” Dulles undermined or betrayed every president he served in high office.

Describing Dulles as “the chairman of cloak-and-dagger America,” Talbot says he worked closely with “the principal members of his ‘board’ — the Washington and Wall Street men of influence who quietly dominated the nation’s decision-making.” Among other current discussions of “deep state” insiders and “leak state” outliers is Edward Jay Epstein’s How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft. While Epstein agrees with those who suggest that Snowden’s whistleblowing has generated a necessary debate about the “surveillance leviathan” now threatening America, he calculates that the “the Snowden Effect” — our current widespread distrust of all government policies and statements on the security topic — will cost us too much at home and abroad.

Whether or not the Trump administration’s emphasis on vetting and security will bring a new round of loyalty checks, the West needs increased vigilance, argues Edward Lucas in Deception: The Untold Story of East-West Espionage Today. In his previous book, The New Cold War, Lucas explored Putin’s favorite weapons and strategies for political destabilization; in his new book the author offers “a message that officials find hard to articulate openly, and that the public seems so unwilling to hear”:

It is this: Russian spies’ activities are not just a lingering spasm of old Soviet institutions, twitching like the tail of a dying dinosaur. They are part of a wider effort to penetrate and manipulate, which targets the weakest parts of our system: its open and trusting approach to outsiders and newcomers . . . The battle lines were more clearly drawn in the days of the Cold War, when the threat was of communist victory. The corrupt autocracy that rules Russia now is playing by capitalist rules — and the threat is even more corrosive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Happiness Hacks That You Need To Try Today

When was the last time you felt happy? Not just a shadow of the pleasant feeling, but truly happy?

You could say that most of our actions are fueled by our motivation to feel good. Unfortunately, however, it’s not all the time that we feel happy. There are days when we just can’t resist feeling low.

If that is your case today, these simple happiness hacks can give you that extra shot of joy.

Let Your Inner Child Take the Lead

Children’s faces usually light up at the seemingly smallest things.

Take, for example, the silly faces their older sibling makes at them across the dinner table. The big hug they get when their dad arrives home from work and the feeling of flying in the air while they are on the playground’s swing set make them giggle with laughter, too.

If you want to put yourself in a happy place, try doing an activity that you enjoyed as a child. You’ll be amazed at how quickly this can spike your happy chemicals.

Enjoy Strange Interactions

stranger interaction

The “stranger danger” warnings handed down to us during childhood can permanently hinder our interactions with people we don’t know.

However, if you make an effort to push through the discomfort and regularly interact with strangers, you’ll find yourself feeling happier during the day. A study conducted by behavioral scientists in Chicago found that individuals who made small talk with strangers during a ride on public transportation rated their experience as more positive than those who did not.

When we take the time to connect with other people, even when we don’t know them, it tends to increase our happiness.

Take A Risk On Something New

When was the last time you tried something that you’ve never done before?

If it’s been a while, then you may want to give this happiness hack a shot. Taking the time to try something you’ve always wanted to do, like getting a new hobby, is not only stimulating but can lead to increased happiness.

Feelings of accomplishment and boosted confidence can also contribute to the smile on your face. Whether you’ve always wanted to try alligator wrestling, knife throwing, or sewing Halloween costumes for your dog, now’s the time to do it.

See Also: How to Start a New Hobby Without Wasting Money

Hold Onto Those Pennies

Spending money when you feel bad can be an easy way to give yourself a quick high. However, once the initial high wears off, people tend to crash pretty hard, especially if they had a hard time earning it.

Rather than splurging on that new toy, try making a habit of regularly saving a part of your earnings. According to a recent survey, the more often people save money, the happier they tend to be. Saving money is also a good way to enhance feelings of self-control, security, and overall well being.

See Also: 10 Ways To Save Money Without Compromising Your Lifestyle

Celebrate Small Goals

celebrate small goals

By setting and achieving small goals on a regular basis, you will not only be more productive but feel happier as well.

Setting our sight on massive goals often results in feelings of failure and depression. So, rather than focusing on your end goals, try chopping them up into several small goals that you can easily achieve and celebrate. Keep in mind that the more specific you are with your goals, the better.

As you get started with these happiness hacks, try to keep your focus on the positive things in your life and use gratitude to your advantage. As you increase your own happiness, you will notice that the people around you will begin to smile and laugh more often as well.

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Malcom Davis Architecture Design a Home for Nature Lovers in Healdsburg, California

This house, constructed for a family of nature lovers, was designed by Malcom Davis Architecture in 2016. It’s located in Healdsburg, California, USA, and covers an area of 1550 m2. Surrounded by a beautiful landscape filled with abundant vegetation, green trees, and numerous hills, this construction includes various installations that allow us to enjoy outdoor activities. The large, climatized pool is perfect both for exercise and leisure time. The gorgeous..

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Taking its name from one of the longest living trees in the…

Taking its name from one of the longest living trees in the Arizona desert, the 129,000-acre Ironwood Forest National Monument is a true Sonoran Desert showcase. 🌵 Keeping company with the ironwood trees are mesquite, palo verde, creosote, and saguaro – blanketing the monument floor beneath rugged mountain ranges named Silver Bell, Waterman and Sawtooth. In between, desert valleys lay quietly to complete the setting. The national monument also contains habitat for the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl and desert bighorn sheep dwelling, which makes hiking, wildlife watching and photography favorite activities in this desert jewel. Photo by Bob Wick, @mypubliclands.

7 Of The Most Haunted Places In The World

Yes, spirits and ghosts do exist. While some may be friendly, others may give you spooky and spine-chilling experiences. If these experiences don’t frighten you, then here are 7 of the most haunted places in the world to feed your wanderlust.

Take a trip or stay the night to experience the eerie presence of the ghosts and spirits in these places.

Borgvattnet (The Haunted Vicarage), Sweden

haunted vicarage

Witness the ghost of the lady in gray wandering through the rooms, or the apparition of the three women staring without a flicker of the eye. You can also experience cold touches at midnight here.

If the mere ideas of these events brought a chill down the spine, imagine how scary the real encounter would be. These ghost encounters are so creepy that the keepers are even offering certificates to those who would dare stay the night.

Surprise Guests

Built in 1876, this vicarage has had a fair share of ghost encounters since 1927. You would be visited by the spirit of the old vicar and crying women at night.

Castle Of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa

castle of good hope

Having a rich history attracts tons of visitors. Unfortunately, the first guests in this place are spirits.

The gruesome history of torturous punishments inflicted on the soldiers has made this place a dwelling ground for their souls. The Castle of Good Hope or the Goede Hoop houses a number of haunted places within its precincts. This includes the battlements, bastion grounds, bell tower, and even the parapets.

You can find the spirits’ presence everywhere.

Surprise Guests

Built in 1666, this castle has a number of eerie spirits wandering through the grounds.

You will be visited by the ghosts of a tall man, a sad woman, and the ghost of Lady Anne Barnard. You can also encounter the Lady in Grey and even the strange apparition of the black hound.

Stanley Hotel-Estes Park, USA

stanley hotel estes park

Room no. 217, which is infamous for its eerie happenings and supernatural events, would definitely send chills down the spine. Like every other haunted place, this hotel also has tons of mysterious stories as to how the chambermaid’s spirit started wandering there.

We dare you to stay the night in the same room if you are an unmarried couple.

Surprise Guests

Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson, the head chambermaid, who was injured in the gas blast that took place in the infamous room no. 217 would visit you at night and do her routine work. Sometimes, she’d do way more than that!

Ancient Ram Inn-Gloucestershire, England

ancient ram inn

Built over an ancient burial ground, Ancient Ram Inn is one of the most haunted houses in the world. The countless tales of devil worshiping and a gruesome history of murders and deaths impart a spooky presence.

Take a tour of this place to witness ancient graves, stuffed animal heads, and other unnatural things that would haunt your dreams for nights to come.

Surprise Guests

Being a thousand-year-old house, the Ancient Ram has a number of evil spirits and spooky entities that would make their presence felt from time to time. You can experience the presence of a witch, a bishop, and several other child ghosts there.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium-Kentucky, United States

waverly hills sanatorium

This place is an old tuberculosis sanatorium where thousands of patients were exposed to brutal experiments. With more than 6,000 people killed there, it is believed to be filled with spirits.

While this story creeps us, the story of room no. 502, where a nurse committed suicide, is way more spooky. Footsteps thumping, screaming voices, and flickering lights are common there. Some people even experienced hearing balls rolling, muffled conversations, and other paranormal activities in the place.

Surprise Guests

With the death of over 6,000 people, it wouldn’t be a surprise if one of their souls decides to visit you while you’re there. Add to that number is the nurse’s spirit in 502.

Banff Springs Hotel-Alberta, Canada

banff springs hotel

Seeing an apparition of a bride dancing with her gown in flames can give goosebumps to any visitor. Located amidst a picturesque surrounding, hotel Banff Springs is one of the most haunted places in Canada. These uncanny and hair-raising presences can scare even the bravest of hearts.

Surprise Guests

Be prepared to be accompanied by several ghosts. While the spirit of the bellman would serve you in a friendly manner, the family of room no. 873 would haunt with their presence. And do not to forget the dancing bride!

Bhangarh Fort-Rajasthan, India

bhangarh fort

A warning signboard denying the permission to stay after sunset and before sunrise would welcome you to this fort. Legends say that the eerie state of the fort is because of a black magician’s spell (or curse). This curse lives on and no spirit has ever lived here in peace.

Surprise Guest

While some can feel a strange presence watching them throughout the trip, others have seen the apparition of a small boy locked inside a dark room.

Are you ready to take a trip to these haunted places and see for yourself?

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House in Toronto Reformed by Baukultur/ca

This house, located in Toronto, Canada, dates from 1905, but baukultur/ca reformed it entirely, turning it into a modern home. Its exterior, of wooden walls and floors, welcomes and invites us to discover an interior full of surprises. The interior has been completely renovated, and is finished with beautiful wooden floors and white walls. It is a space full of light that transmits a cozy warmth. In the living room,..

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An Extension for the Centre of Cosmology and Astronomy Researchers at Durham University, England

This modern structure forms part of an attachment built for the Centre of Cosmology and Astronomy Researchers at Durham University, England. This attachment hosts offices and acts as an event space for the university’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy, and the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation. The construction, designed by  Daniel Libeskind, consists of a series of blocks that connect at the center. Its exterior walls are..

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