You Need To Connect The Dots Between The Bombshell Michael Flynn Stories

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WASHINGTON ― Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, vetoed a plan to attack the so-called Islamic State’s capital of Raqqa in Syria in January ― a position that aligned with the desires of Turkey, which had paid him $530,000 to represent its interests, McClatchy reported Wednesday night.

But Flynn, a retired general, hadn’t always backed the views of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime, as HuffPost first reported last year. Quite the opposite: Last July, Flynn praised a coup attempt against Erdogan, criticizing the Turkish leader for being too close to President Barack Obama and calling the coup “worth clapping for.”

Flynn shifted to supporting Erdogan only after a Dutch company headed by a man with ties to Erdogan’s government hired his intelligence firm in early August. By November, Flynn had flip-flopped entirely. “We need to see the world from Turkey’s perspective,” he wrote in an opinion piece published on Election Day. “We must begin with understanding that Turkey is vital to U.S. interests. Turkey is really our strongest ally against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as well as a source of stability in the region.”

Wednesday’s McClatchy report adds a dimension to this flip-flop. Flynn had demagogued for years about the supposed dangers of Muslims and Islam. “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL,” he tweeted in February. “Islam is not a real religion, but a political ideology masked behind a religion,” he claimed.

ISIS received special attention in Flynn’s harangues. He told The New Yorker in February that Obama had “too narrowly defined” efforts to defeat the group and called for “fighting these guys on the battlefield.”

But when the Obama administration asked the Trump administration in mid-January to approve a plan ― fiercely opposed by Turkey ― to arm Syrian Kurds to retake Raqqa from ISIS, Flynn, who was being paid by Turkey, balked.

“Don’t approve it,” Flynn said, according to a February report in The Washington Post cited by McClatchy. (Turkey opposes arming the Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the YPG, because it believes the YPG has ties to the PKK, an organization of Kurdish fighters in Turkey that both Turkey and the U.S. have listed as a terrorist group.)

The Trump administration knew at the time ― and, indeed, before Trump appointed Flynn ― that the FBI was investigating him for secretly serving as a paid agent of Turkey while campaigning for Trump, The New York Times reported Wednesday night.

But Trump listened to the paid Turkish agent who was also serving as his national security adviser anyway, and the operation against the ISIS capital was delayed for months. The president continued to allow Flynn to sit in on national security briefings, as he had throughout the last months of the campaign and through the transition ― all times during which he was being paid by Turkey.

Attempts to contact Flynn for comment were unsuccessful, but associates of his told the Times he believes the investigation into him is part of a political effort by the Obama administration to keep him out of the White House.

The Trump administration protected Flynn despite repeated warnings from people inside and outside the government that he was compromised. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates told the White House a week after the inauguration that Flynn “could essentially be blackmailed by the Russians” after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about meetings he had with the Russian ambassador, she testified to a Senate subcommittee earlier this month. It took Trump 18 more days to fire Flynn.

Trump fired Flynn on Feb. 13, several weeks after the Raqqa recommendation. He then pressured FBI Director James Comey the next day to close the investigation into Flynn, according to Comey’s notes, the Times reported Tuesday.

Comey did not.

Trump fired Comey on May 9. The same day, media reports emerged that the president had changed his mind about Syria: He had decided there was only one way to defeat the Islamic State without involving large numbers of U.S. troops. He would arm the Syrian Kurds after all.

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Best-Selling Games Of The Past Week In Australia And New Zealand Revealed

What games sold the best last week in Australia and New Zealand last week?

The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association today released the top 10 sales charts for both countries, with AFL Evolution remaining the No. 1 best-selling game in Australia and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on top in New Zealand on the all-platforms charts.

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Below are the top 10 sales charts for Australia and Zealand for the week ended May 14, broken down by platforms. Note that the charts only include physical sales.

Top-Selling Games For The Week Ended May 14

Australia:

  1. AFL Evolution
  2. Prey
  3. Mario Kart 8
  4. Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  5. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  6. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  7. Horizon: Zero Dawn
  8. Grand Theft Auto V
  9. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3
  10. Fallout 4

PS4

  1. AFL Evolution
  2. Prey
  3. Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  4. Horizon: Zero Dawn
  5. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  6. Grand Theft Auto V
  7. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3
  8. Persona 5
  9. Rainbow Six Siege
  10. Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Xbox One:

  1. AFL Evolution
  2. Prey
  3. Fallout 4
  4. Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  5. Forza Horizon 3
  6. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  7. Grand Theft Auto V
  8. Rainbow Six Siege
  9. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3
  10. Lego Worlds

Wii U

  1. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  2. Minecraft
  3. Lego Dimensions
  4. Just Dance 2017
  5. New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U
  6. Super Smash Bros.
  7. Star Fox Zero
  8. Mario Party 10
  9. Mario Part 8
  10. Paper Mario: Color Smash

PlayStation Vita

  1. The Legend of Heroes: Cold Steel
  2. Borderlands 2
  3. Dead or Alive 5 Plus
  4. Touikiden: The Age of Demons
  5. World of Final Fantasy
  6. Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends
  7. Minecraft
  8. One Piece: Burning Blood
  9. Phineas & Ferb: Day of the Doofenshmirtz
  10. J Stars Victory VS +

3DS

  1. Pokemon Sun
  2. Monster Hunter: Generations
  3. Pokemon Moon
  4. Donkey Kong Country Returns
  5. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
  6. Mario Kart 7
  7. Super Mario Maker
  8. Super Smash Bros.
  9. Pokemon Omega Ruby
  10. Poochy & Yoshi’s Wooly World

Nintendo Switch

  1. Mario Kart 8
  2. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  3. Puyo Puyo Tetris
  4. 1-2-Switch
  5. Super Bomberman R
  6. Lego City Undercover
  7. Just Dance 2017
  8. Skylanders: Imaginators

PC

  1. Prey
  2. The Sims 4
  3. Overwatch
  4. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III
  5. Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  6. Farming Simulator 17
  7. World of Warcraft Legion
  8. The Sims 4: City Living
  9. StarCraft II: Battle Chest
  10. Sniper: Ghost Warrior III

New Zealand:

All Platforms

  1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  2. Doom
  3. Fallout 4
  4. Prey
  5. Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  6. Horizon: Zero Dawn
  7. Mario Kart 8
  8. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  9. Battlefield 1
  10. Forza Horizon 3

PS4

  1. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  2. Doom
  3. Fallout 4
  4. Horizon: Zero Dawn
  5. Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  6. Prey
  7. Battlefield 1
  8. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  9. Grand Theft Auto V
  10. FIFA 17

Xbox One

  1. Forza Horizon 3
  2. Halo 5: Guardians
  3. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  4. Doom
  5. Fallout 4
  6. Prey
  7. Minecraft
  8. Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  9. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  10. Forza Motorsport 6

Wii U

  1. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  2. Batman: Arkham City
  3. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
  4. Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival
  5. Art Academy: Atelier
  6. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  7. Disney Infinity 2.0
  8. Disney Infinity 3.0
  9. Lego City Undercover
  10. Minecraft

PlayStation Vita

  1. Lego The Hobbit
  2. PlayStation Vita Pets
  3. Touch My Katamari
  4. Child of Light
  5. God Eater: Rage Burst
  6. Injustice: Gods Among Us
  7. Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
  8. Lego: Marvel Avengers
  9. Lego Ninjago Nindroids
  10. Lego Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin

3DS

  1. Pokemon Sun
  2. Pokemon Mon
  3. Pokemon Omega Ruby
  4. Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
  5. Mario Kart 7
  6. Super Smash Bros.
  7. Super Mario Maker
  8. Fire Emblem: Awakening
  9. Kirby: Triple Deluxe
  10. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Nintendo Switch

  1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  2. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  3. 1-2-Switch
  4. Just Dance 2017
  5. Lego City Undercover
  6. Skylanders: Imaginators

PC

  1. The Sims 4
  2. Prey
  3. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III
  4. Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  5. Battlefield 1
  6. Civilization VI
  7. Diablo III: Battle Chest
  8. Overwatch
  9. The Sims 4: Get To Work
  10. Mass Effect: Andromeda

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LeBron And The Cavs Broke The Celtics

Somehow, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, and Avery Bradley were not enough to stop the Cleveland Cavaliers or even slow them down very much. The final score was not that imposing, as the Cavs won just 117-104, but Cleveland emotionally disemboweled the Celtics early and turned the entire second half into a soggy…

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The Celtics don’t have a LeBron stopper because no one stops LeBron James

We thought Boston might have defenders who might actually bother LeBron James in this series. Nope.

Jae Crowder isn’t a “LeBron stopper” because nobody is a LeBron stopper. Not P.J. Tucker the last series, nor Paul George the round before. Not Andre Iguodala last year, or Kawhi Leonard as a Finals MVP a couple seasons before that, or anyone else you can imagine.

It was easy to imagine why Crowder could be considered someone who could reasonably defend LeBron James — not stopping him, but maybe slowing him down, even if only a little. After all, Crowder is a beefy 6’6, 235 pounds known for his defensive chops and physical enough to deal with ball handling forwards.

As it turns out, Crowder is somehow both too slow and too small for LeBron James. If there was any doubt, the Cavaliers clobbering Boston in Game 1 by a 117-104 margin on Wednesday made that clear. James finished with 38 points on 14-of-24 shooting with nine rebounds and seven assists, getting into the paint at will.

Yeah, no. It’s time to retire “LeBron stopper” phrase, because it’s obsolete.

You can bother James, sure. He infamously shrunk in the 2011 NBA Finals against the Mavericks, playing a weirdly passive game against a smart zone defense and one of the best “LeBron stoppers” to ever exist, Shawn Marion. But c’mon, even Mavericks fans know Marion wasn’t the main reason that LeBron was “stopped” that series. (He still averaged 18 points on 48 percent shooting.)

Likewise, in the 2013 Finals, the Spurs dared James to shoot … so he did, and he beat them. In 2014, even as Leonard won Finals MVP for his two-way play, James averaged 28 points on 57 percent shooting. In 2015, he was even better in a loss, and in 2016 he won Cleveland its first championship by scoring 41 points consecutively and finishing it off with a Game 7 triple-double.

Without getting too far away from Game 1, the point is that the collection of Crowder, Bradley and Brown isn’t going to be enough to stop James, because we really have never seen him convincingly stopped. James is too strong for guards and too quick for guards, too savvy for traps and too smart for switches. It feels like he has mastered his craft — taking advantage of any defense you try to play against him — more than even a few seasons ago, when he was winning consecutive MVPs.

In Game 1, Boston came in with the idea that they weren’t going to let Cleveland shooters light them up. They didn’t — the Cavaliers only hit 11 threes on 31 attempts as the Celtics hugged Kyle Korver and Kevin Love. The result was an occasional possession where Kelly Olynyk was responsible for checking James off a switch.

It was basketball gore.

No one on the Celtics can stop James, and the rest of the series seems likely to look somewhat similar to this Game 1 blowout. (I think Boston will win a game at some point, but that doesn’t mean this series will ever be in doubt.) If it’s any consolation for Boston, they’re far from being the first team victimized by LeBron James.

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LeBron James said he ‘didn’t feel that great’ despite scoring 38 against Celtics in Game 1

Come on!

LeBron James had not played basketball in 10 days before Game 1 against the Celtics. It didn’t matter. He came out and completely dominated the Celtics from the jump, scoring 38 points, 9 points, and 7 rebounds to take a 1-0 lead on the road. That is a stat line most players would dream about in the Eastern Conference Finals. Yet after the game, LeBron brushed it off saying he didn’t feel that well. WHAT.

“After 10 days off, I didn’t feel that great but I know I’ll feel a lot better going into Game 2. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Cavaliers in 2.

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