Although Texas State Representative Jonathan Stickland is retiring from the Texas State House, he’s not leaving quietly.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that during a stop in Arlington for the Jonathan Stickland Farewell Tour, the Bedford Republican boasted about killing more bills than any lawmaker in Texas history.
Many of the bills he killed were Republican bills.
Stickland took moderate Republicans to task, and even criticized U.S. Senator John Cornyn and Governor Greg Abbott.
In the middle of an impassioned speech at the Rolling Hills Country Club, Stickland asked 40 or so GOP members in the audience “How many of you are excited to go out, sweat, stress and give money to John Cornyn?”
The crowd initially responded with blank stares and silence, but then one club member yelled, “No!”
Stickland then said that Cornyn has to “to turn it up.”
The outgoing state representative said “He needs to turn it up. Or someone else get in (the race). Or something.”
Stickland did note that he won’t be that challenger against Cornyn, at least for 10 years “until my girls get out of the house,” making reference to his two younger daughters.
This comment came after he described the Texas Republicans’ strategy as “Run to the middle, and hope nobody notices us.”
He claims that the Texas Legislature just ended a “purple” session that did not fire up voters.
Stickland pinned the blame on Texas GOP leadership for this lukewarm session. He even singled out “Abbott, which may upset some people, but I’m just gonna name his name” for not delivering the goods.
“The pro-lifers, the pro-gun people, the fiscal conservatives, the social warriors” didn’t pull together, he claimed.
After Democrats had a surprisingly strong performance in 2018, he said that party leadership opted for “this crazy strategy of moving to the center.”
Stickland also called for gun control laws and stricter “ballot security” during this speech.
A new grassroots group — Lone Star Agenda — has emerged in the last week, sharing a similar agenda with Stickland.
On Facebook, Stickland wrote: “It looks like conservatives have had it with the lack of GOP leadership. … They’re putting together an actual plan to save Texas in 2020.”
Stickland’s concerns are quite valid.
After all, his hallmark legislation, Constitutional Carry, was killed by establishment House Speaker Dennis Bonnen.
However, the Texas GOP cannot take its grassroots constituents for granted.
As the state becomes more electorally competitive, the GOP will need all the support it can get.
Many races will be determined by razor thin margins.
Ignoring the grassroots could be the difference between victory or defeat in these cases.
HISTORIC: President Trump Brokers Two-State Solution Between Israel and Palestine
On August 13, 2020, Israel and the United Arb Emirates announced that they will normalize diplomatic relations and establish new broad-based ties.
This represents a pivotal moment in Middle Eastern politics, as the hot-button political issues shift from the issue of Palestine to Iran. The Trump administration helped broker this deal.
Under this new agreement, Israel has nominally agreed to stop its plans to annex the areas of the occupied West Bank. This agreement also solidifies opposition to Iran, which has become stronger ever since the U.S. launched its disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003. At the moment, the U.S. views Iran as the principal threat in the Middle East.
Israel previously signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Up to this moment, the UAE and most other Arab countries did not maintain formal diplomatic or economic relations with the country until now. In normalizing relations with Israel, the UAE became the first Gulf Arab country to reach such an agreement with the Jewish state.
According to White House officials, the agreement was the result of extended discussions between Israel, the UAE, and the U.S.
In a joint statement featuring President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, they declared that they had “agreed to the full normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”
“This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region,” the statement read.
Reuters reported that in another statement, the crown prince highlighted that the agreement would prevent further Israeli annexation of Palestinian land, which Israel claims to have been waiting for U.S. approval.
The agreement is known as the Abraham Accords. It provides Trump a foreign policy accomplishment as he pursues re-election in November.
“HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates,” Trump Tweeted.
HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2020
In a separate tweet, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, announced that the Trump administration was able to get Israel to agree with Palestinian people on a two-state solution.
The White House’s Twitter account announced this development:
President @realDonaldTrump was able to get Israel to agree to a two-state solution with the Palestinian people—and, for the first time in history, agree to a map that outlined the territory.
President @realDonaldTrump was able to get Israel to agree to a two-state solution with the Palestinian people—and, for the first time in history, agree to a map that outlined the territory. pic.twitter.com/8r3DWmzzOx
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 13, 2020
The Trump administration revealed that deals similar to the UAE and Israeli agreement are being crafted by Israel and other Arab states.
This marks a change in strategy from the nation-building of the Obama and Bush administrations, which largely benefited the defense industry, and relied upon misguided hard power instead of smart diplomacy to settle disputes.
Time will tell if such policies will last.
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