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Islamic State being steamrolled in Syria

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Following the Siege of Aleppo, the Syrian Arab Army has shifted its focus towards land grabs. While Aleppo was still under control of the jihadist groups, the government controlled the coastline, most of the areas along its border with Lebanon, and much of the area surrounding Damascus with some major exceptions. Ever since liberating Eastern Aleppo, the SAA has kept the Al-Qaeda linked groups at bay in the region west of Aleppo. The SAA hasn’t launched any major offensive other than to recapture the gains of jihadists in the Idlib Province north of Hama. Instead, Assad’s forces have focused most on ridding the Islamic State from the desert, leaving hardcore terrorists fright moderate terrorists.

 Figure 1: Syria December 22nd, 2016. East Aleppo under government control

Figure 1: Syria December 22nd, 2016. East Aleppo under government control

Things are looking bleak for ISIS in Syria. Their capital Raqqah is under siege with coalition forces reclaiming 60% and growing of the city. The closest forces to break the siege are about 45 km east and 36 km south using the most up to date maps. The Kurds have been instrumental in defeating the Islamic State, and the Syrian government is content to let them liberate Raqqah. Urban warfare has been brutal in the region with the past Sieges of Aleppo and Mosul both proving difficult.

After Aleppo, SAA with the assistance of Russia and other allies began increasing its land by first recapturing Palmyra which they accomplished in March. Afterwards focused attention on the Iraqi border and desert land south of the main road that goes through Palmyra. Meanwhile east of Aleppo, along the Euphrates River, it’s almost a race between Assad and the Kurds as to who can capture the land first. Neither group is fighting one another, but each village counts when the two groups will eventually negotiate a final peace.

Figure 2: Syria August 23rd, 2017. Most of the land gains are within the last couple months

Figure 2: Syria August 23rd, 2017. Most of the land gains are within the last couple months

The objective for Assad’s forces is clear. Government forces have been under siege by ISIS for five years in Deir ez-Zor. However, it is not a perfect siege. Russia and Syria have been able to supply their forces under siege due to the Islamic State’s lack of anti-air. No doubt the Syrian government is striving to break the siege. Breaking the siege would be a morale boosting victory that would further reinforce Assad’s eventual victory. The SAA captured as-Sukhnah on August 5th which is the only major settlement between Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor. But in the last two weeks, the SAA has decided to clean up rather than rush to break the siege. They have attacked ISIS in the region northwest of Palmyra from the south, north and west. The Islamic State’s oil fields were split by the SAA, rendering the isolated territory under siege and useless. Syria is about to isolate another oil rich mass of land via capturing land directly north of as-Sukhnah.

This break from marching on to Deir ez-Zor was brief because reports show the Syrian Army captured about 30km of highway. The Islamic State has few victories to claim as the defeats keep piling up in Syria. It’s only a matter of time before the five-year siege is broken and intense fighting along the Euphrates begins. For now, Syria enjoys relatively easy victories bringing it one step closer to peace.

Opinions

Conservative Picks for the Minnesota Primary

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Conservative Picks for the Minnesota Primary

Minnesota has a lot of action and potential relative to other states. Minnesota has three blue districts Donald Trump won in 2016. This means the right candidate can come along and upset the “blue wave” or at least mitigate potential losses. Minnesota is hopeful because in almost every race, there’s at least one candidate that doesn’t suck. It would be nice to see a little more enthusiasm in the Senate races(courtesy of Al Franken.) The GOP can look to make progress in what has been a staunchly blue state for decades. Minnesota has become redder with each of the last three presidential elections, so the Democrats reign is in trouble.

Best Picks: Jim Newberger, Tom Emmer, Jen Zielinski
Worst Picks: Carla Nelson
Best Race: District 7
Worst Race: Senate Special Election

US Senate Special Election

Karin Housely is the GOP favorite in this race. However she comes off as a RINO who would expand the debt. Her stint in the State Senate shows she really isn’t all that Conservative despite having a more Conservative 2017 session, which every other Republican did as well, so it seems. She doesn’t impress up front. Her main opponent is Bob Anderson. Anderson fancies himself as an outsider. He comes off as a populist rather than a Conservative, but that is preferable to the shining RINO that Housely would likely be. Anderson is anti-establishment so he is more likely to shake things up.

Conservative Pick: Bob Anderson

US Senate

The most serious candidate here seems to be Jim Newberger. As a rep in the Minnesota House, Newberger has an outstanding record. For that reason, it’s a good thing for Conservatism that he may walk into a easy victory here in an underwhelming race. Merrill Anderson is a populist and perhaps a conspiracy nut. He doesn’t reasonably stand a chance. Roque De La Fuente is literally running for Senator in every state that has loose enough residency requirements. He isn’t Conservative. He is not the pick here, but he understands taking chances.

Conservative Pick: Jim Newberger

District 1

Jim Hagedorn looks to reclaim he seat he barely lost in 2016. This is district went red for Trump, yet he lost by less than 1%. His main opponent is Carla Nelson, a state rep. She is ACU’s lowest ranking Republican in 2016 and was tied for a repeat in 2017. She is no Conservative.

Conservative Pick: Jim Hagedorn

District 2

Jason Lewis is the highest rated Congressman in the state. He’s not a perfect Conservative, but deserves another term. He is unopposed.

District 3

Erik Paulsen is an unchallenged RINO.

District 4

Greg Ryan is an unchallenged RINO.

District 5

Jen Zielinski seems to be the GOP favorite in this race. She seems to have the potential to shrink the government. She also wants to make the Republican Party the “Party of Choice.” This is good branding for incorporating issues such as school choice. The other candidates don’t appear to be as serious.

Conservative Pick: Jen Zielinski

District 6

Tom Emmer hasn’t done a terrible job in Congress. His Liberty score of 69 shows a more fiscally responsible Republican than a typical RINO. He faces the same two challenges as he did last time around. Neither of these candidates are particularly inspiring enough to warrant a course change.

Conservative Pick: Tom Emmer

District 7

David Hughes looks for a rematch after losing by 5% in 2016. Hughes is a solid Conservative by looks. His platform is right of Trump on immigration and healthcare. His opponent Matt Protch is campaigning as an outsider. Rather than a populist, he actually seems Conservative. This race is winnable for the GOP so Hughes is perhaps the best bet here. But he lost a race where Trump won. This indicates weak campaigning. So perhaps its time to invest in someone new? However Collin Peterson has been in since 1990, too long. He’s also way more vulnerable in an increasingly red district. Perhaps Hughes can win with a second chance, now that he potentially has more name recognition. Or perhaps Protch is the choice.

Conservative Pick: David Hughes?

District 8

The most serious candidate here is Pete Strauber who seems like a regular Republican, and that comes with a bad connotation. This is another flippable seat in Minnesota.

Conservative Pick: Pete Strauber

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Culture and Religion

Pro-life Trumpservatives praise Trump for protecting unborn babies he isn’t protecting

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Pro-life Trumpservatives praise Trump for protecting unborn babies he isnt protecting

Lately, it seems that not a day goes by where we aren’t provided with another example of how conservative values have been consumed by the fires of compromise on the altar of Trumpservatism. While sacrificing principles for power is commonplace for the GOP priests serving in the Temple of Trump, the sad reality is that real priests, pastors, and other religious leaders have provided the kindling and the oil that fuels the flames.

One of the tragic consequences coming from the rise of the group I refer to as the Fellowship of the Pharisees concerns abortion. In the Age of Trump, these false teachers have abandoned their defense of the unborn under the delusion that Trump is keeping his promises.

On her blog (civilrightsfortheunborn.org), Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote a piece responding to recent accusations made by Omarosa Manigault Newman that Donald Trump often uses racial slurs. *

* NOTE: While her claims may or may not be true, Trump is taking advantage of this “squirrel” moment to let America know that Omarosa is a “low life” even though he frequently brags about how he hires only the “best people.”

After making her case in defense of Trump, King concluded with these words:

“He is keeping his campaign promises. The job market is better for everyone. Unemployment is at an all-time low. Babies and children are safer inside and outside the womb. Prayer is returning to the public square.” (emphasis mine)

King’s claim is not only untrue, but the lives of the unborn continue to grow more perilous … and profitable.

Besides the fact that Trump and the GOP have continued to fund Baby Butchers, Inc. (Planned Parenthood), the byproduct of their murderous practices (body parts) has become another revenue stream, courtesy of the taxpayer—an income stream that has increased under Republican control of Washington.

A few days ago, we learned about a contract between the US Food and Drug Administration and Advanced Biometric Resources (ABR) to acquire human fetal tissue for experiments on mice. In a 2016 Senate Judiciary Committee report, we learned that ABR’s primary source of baby parts was Planned Parenthood.

Trump and the GOP allegedly created the “most pro-life platform ever” in 2016, and they promised to defund Planned Parenthood and bring an end to dismemberment abortions. Despite candidate Trump’s pro-Planned Parenthood sentiments at the time, so-called pro-life activists believed he would fulfill the GOP’s promise. But as we learned earlier this year, they have no intention of doing so.

Unfortunately, those who used to defend the unborn baby in the womb have chosen to defend the unethical baby in the White House. Meanwhile, there will be hundreds of thousands more slaughtered babies, thanks to cowards like Trump, the GOP, and so-called religious leaders.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Liberal Republicans and House Freedom Caucus on same Trumpservative team

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Liberal Republicans and House Freedom Caucus on same Trumpservative team

After vowing to “fight the meritless charges” brought against him following an indictment for insider trading, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) experienced a political come-to-Jesus moment about the reality of his situation.

In a statement released over the weekend, Collins officially “suspended” his re-election campaign, which is just the Washington Doublespeak way of saying he’s ending his re-election bid because he’s still free to raise campaign money for his selfish political purposes.

While Rep. Collins is innocent until proven guilty, the repercussions following his indictment were swift, especially with the uphill climb the GOP faces in November. Democrats were ecstatic over the sudden opportunity to take a seat Republicans were expected to win. And right on cue, the GOP faithful lined up to support Collins, proving once again that conservatism has died within the GOP and has been replaced by the Trumpservatives.

In a statement of support for Collins who was an early support of Trump who served on his transition team, state chairman of the NY Conservative Party Mike Long said that Collins is “an excellent legislator and the most conservative member of Congress in NY.” An absurd claim considering Collins’ Liberty Score of 39% (F).

For the record, every NY Republican in Congress carries a failing Liberty Score with the most “conservative” being Rep. Lee Zeldin at 54% (F).

Sacrificing conservative values in the name of party loyalty comes as no surprise when NY Republicans are involved. After all, New York is the home of the liberal currently occupying the White House, and the longest-serving Republican in Congress from the Empire State is 25-year veteran Peter King, who carries a Liberty Score of 30% (F).

But the sad reality is that even so-called conservatives such as House Freedom Caucus members Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mark Meadows (R-NC) have made Trump and his agenda the new measuring stick of what constitutes a conservative.

In a Facebook post last Friday, I shared an excerpt from an email I received from the House Freedom Fund—the Political Action Committee of the House Freedom Caucus—asking for a donation in support of Jordan and Meadows, not because of their successes conservative track records, but because they have become identified as “Trump’s pit-bulls on Capitol Hill” working to push his agenda.

In the Age of Trump, it’s sad but not much of a surprise to hear that people like NY liberal Chris Collins and others who have worked for Trump are unethical Trumpservatives. However, when so-called conservative groups like the House Freedom Caucus begin acting the same way, it’s clear that conservatives no longer have a home within the GOP.

 

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook.

Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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