Politics

Texas is indeed a unique state, and also one that didn’t exactly get the subtlety memo. There are countless things that make this state unique, one of them being that it is bigger than England and France combined, big, huh? We take a look at some of the main reasons why Texas is…well, Texas.

It was an independent nation

Well, so was Vermont and California and Hawaii but these don’t really talk about it, but this is Texas and it has to be talked about. Texas was among the few states that had been recognized as independent nations before joining the union. It was known as the republic of Texas.

It is legally permitted to secede

That should have read that it is legally permitted to secede from the union. When President Lincoln made it illegal for states to secede, Texas was controlled by union forces and not confederate forces and is therefore legally permitted to leave.

Six flags have flown over Texas

This is because it was controlled by six countries namely Spain, France, Texas, Mexico, US and the confederate States. The Texas flag as a country was before the state joined the union, when it was still an independent republic.

It is a true battleground state

Since the state is very large (remember larger than Britain and France combined), it is allocated a large number of electors under the Electoral College rule than other battleground states.

It is home to the most presidential libraries

Well, in all fairness it is also the home to four former presidents so maybe that is to be expected. These are the Lyndon Baines Library, George Bush Library and the George W Bush presidential center.

Transport infrastructure

Texas has the longest railroad and highway transport system in the USA. This is in addition to having the most airports. But again, it is very large so it needs the roads.

Largest medical center

The Texas medical center is the largest one in the world and has constantly been among the leaders in research. The center carries out the most heart-related surgeries in the world. The center is located in Houston.

It has its own embassies

Texas has its own embassies in other countries. These had been built under the independent republic of Texas but still stand today. There is one in London, England.

NASA space center

This is primarily the reason for the phrase ‘Houston, we’ve got a problem’. Famous phrase right there. Well, the Lyndon Johnson space center is used by NASA to conduct human spaceflight training.

Long Term Care

Texas is home to many high quality nursing and long-term care homes. Texas features many high class luxury nursing home which are rated amongst some of the highest in the country. Click here to learn the average costs of long-term care in Texas.

Politics, Texas

Texas has been the home of four former US presidents. However, there have also been several other famous faces from the political arena. We take a look at five famous politicians who came from Texas.

Lloyd Bentsen

Born in February 1921, Bentsen was a US Senator who served under the Bill Clinton presidency. He was the country’s 69th secretary of the treasury in a short term between 1993 and 1994. He served as senator for four terms between 1971 and 1993. He was the Democrats nominee for vice-president in 1988 when Michael Dukakis ran for president. Apart from that period in office, Bentsen also served as chairman of the US Senate’s finance committee during President Clinton’s first two years in office. He graduated with an LL. B degree from the University of Texas in the year 1942, got admitted to the bar but went on to join the military in the World War II period.

Barbara Jordan

Barbara became the first woman elected to the Texan senate in 1966 and was also the first Africa-American elected after the events of the civil war. She represented the state in the USA house of representatives and went on to become the first black woman to be buried in the Texas state cemetery.

Barbara was born in 1936 and went on to become a lawyer, educator, civil rights activists and politician. She is also perhaps best remembered for a quite eloquent opening statement during court hearings to determine the impeachment of then president Nixon. She has received a presidential medal of freedom.

George W Bush

Bush will probably be best remembered for his term as the 43rd president of the USA and perhaps too as the 46th governor of Texas. He was born in 1946 to Barbara and H W Bush. Bush graduated from Yale and Harvard Universities. Bush was elected president in a rather controversial election and victory over the Democrats’ Al Gore who received more popular votes than him.

His tenure as president will be remembered for the 9/11 attacks that happened barely 8 months into his presidency. His response is now famously known as the Bush Doctrine and was an all-out launch on terror that began with war on Afghanistan and Iraq later in 2003. In his re-election, Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry in yet another hotly contested election.

Charlie Wilson

Born Charlie Nesbitt Wilson in 1933, he as a twelve-term US representative from Texas. Charlie is best known for influencing congress to support operation cyclone. This was the CIA’s largest covert operation that basically involved supply of military equipment to the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan during the period of the Soviet war. He even had a book and a film created to document his contribution to the covert op.

Wilson came from the Texan town of Trinity and attended Sam Houston University. He was later admitted to the naval academy in Maryland. He also served in the Pentagon as part of a unit designed to run evaluations on Russia’s nuclear plans.

Ann Richards

She was the 45th governor of Texas serving from 1991 through 1995. She started off as the State’s treasurer. She ran for re-election to the governor’s office but was defeated by George W Bush who went on to become the 43rd president of the USA. Ann was Texas’ second woman governor and was known to have an outspoken mind on issues touching on feminism.

Richards was born in McLennan, Texas to Robert Cecil and Mildred Iona. She graduated from Baylor University and later from the University of Texas. Ann’s political career has been as a Democrat.

Politics

Politicians use various tactics to achieve what they desire most from their electorate. Most of these are usually psychological methods cleverly devised to disguise some information as something else. We take a look at 10 of these methods and how they apply in the modern political arena.

1.     Spinning

A spin is a form of propaganda that politicians achieve through providing the electorate with a biased interpretation of something often in order to gain favor for or against another person. It is seen as making use of deception and manipulation to achieve the desired outcome.

2.     Factoid

A factoid is an entirely false statement but that has been nonetheless presented to people as a true fact and has been believed to be one. In politics, factoids basically evolve from minor unreliable pieces of information that are repeated so often that with time they become accepted as facts.

3.     Demonization

In politics, demonization is a tactic used by politicians to characterize an individual or group of people as evil. In its earliest usage, the Knight Templar ruin came after they were accused of worshipping Baphomet often though in Christianity to be Beelzebub due to the horned image.

4.     Cult of personality

This is widely used by politicians and occurs when a politician uses mass media and at times other methods to create an ideal image through excessive praise and flattery. This works perfectly in totalitarian regimes and the state achieves a cult of personality in a chosen individual by controlling the media.

5.     Doublespeak

It is perhaps the most used psychological method by politicians all over the world. Doublespeak is basically the deliberate distortion of words or their meaning. Perhaps the best example is the corporate term ‘downsizing’ which means there is going to be layoffs. Doublespeak is designed to make actions seem more acceptable to the public.

6.     Bandwagon

The bandwagon idea is basically an appeal aimed at persuading a certain audience to join or take part in a certain course of action since everyone else is doing so. There is the inevitable victory and join the crown facets of this technique.

7.     Beautiful people

The beautiful people tactic is aimed at changing the perceptions of people by associating a certain political ideology to famous people. This makes people see the ‘happy person’ as a representative of the ideology and therefore see the ideology as right or good.

8.     Common man

The common man tactic is used by politicians to convince a particular audience that his/her positions reflects or represents that of the common person or the plain folk. This works by making the audience feel that the politicians speak their language and is therefore best suited to represent their needs.

9.     Dictat

This is used by politicians especially during campaigns to apparently make decision making easier for the audience they are targeting. For example, by creating an image or poster that says kick out the current government, the audience does not have to process much information since all they have to do is kick the said government out.

10.  Slogans

Slogans have been incorrectly used to appeal to the emotions of the target audience rather than to reason. Politicians cleverly phrase slogans to justify certain causes of action even though without the phrases, the actions would be deemed unreasonable.

Politics

Donald Trump holds the highest office in the world and that has come with a myriad changes in terms of how the USA relates to the rest of the world. Changes were indeed expected, and drastic ones for that matter since this is Trump. We take a look at the top five ways that the world has changed under Trump’s presidency.

1.     Nuclear Tension in Asia

Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson has on several times spoken of possible measures to block China from accessing her artificial islands on the South China Sea. Trump also thinks that Japan and South Korea rely too much on the United States and thinks it would be to their benefit were they to develop their own nuclear war arsenals. The US president also thinks that the deal made between the Obama administration and North Korea was the worst deal ever. He says that dismantling North Korea’s nuclear ambitions is a priority. Mr. Trumps’ administration says that ‘all options are on the table’.

2.     The NATO Issue

Trump was of the opinion that NATO was obsolete and that its members were ungrateful allies who benefit from American largesse. Trump had his defense secretary warn NATO member countries that the USA would reduce its commitment unless they raised their spending to at least 2% of their country’s GDPs. However, Trump later said that the threat of terrorism has outlined the importance of the alliance and even urged NATO member countries to do more to help Iraq and Afghanistan. Trump also now thinks that NATO is no longer obsolete.

3.     Use of Military Force

The previous administration was highly reluctant of getting involved in additional conflicts in the East. Obama had stated that even when the Syrian situation escalated, military intervention by the United States would prove to be a very expensive failure. This led to the US only providing humanitarian aid and funding Syrian rebels. Trump however was of a different opinion and ordered airstrikes on the Syrian government base. He also attacked Afghanistan with the mother of all bombs (MOAB). There seems to be a more forceful sided to the USA in relating with hostile countries under the current administration.

4.     Uncertainty on the Future of Trade

Trump has threatened to do away with several existing FTAs such as the NAFTA. He blames the USA’s trade with Mexico and Canada for the loss of jobs in America. Recently, the president even threatened to withdraw from the WTO. This comes in addition to a suggestion to increase the tariff charged on automobile manufacturers operating in Mexico. Well, then there is the Mexican-border wall. Besides the threats, Trump has pulled out of the TPP deal that involved 12 nations and represented about 40% of the world’s total economic output. The Trump administration almost started a full-blown trade war when the president promised to label the Chinese as currency manipulators. The future of free trade has never really been more uncertain.

5.     Climate Change

During his campaign, Trump promised to cancel the Paris Agreement. However, his circle is divided on whether cancelling the deal is a good idea after all. In addition to this, the president has reversed several steps made by the previous administration related to climate change. The resident has several times denied that there are human-related aspects of climate change but seemed to have a different opinion later. However, should the president go ahead and pull out of the Paris climate deal, the USA is still bound by the agreement for four more years. This could also have chain effects where other countries also reconsider their efforts towards curbing climate change.