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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 76)

E.U.’s New Digital Czar: ‘Most Powerful Regulator of Big Tech on the Planet’

BRUSSELS — For five years, Margrethe Vestager, was the scourge of Silicon Valley, levying billions of dollars in fines and initiating investigations against Google, Apple and Facebook for violating antitrust laws and harming consumers.

As the European Union’s competition commissioner, she, and her army of lawyers, became heroes to many critics of Big Tech, even as they were loathed in some corporate offices, and in the White House.

“She hates the United States,” President Trump said, “perhaps worse than any person I’ve ever met.”

On Tuesday, Ms. Vestager assumed more power than ever, expanding her portfolio to become the equivalent of the European Union’s digital czar.

It’s a job that analysts say will give her unmatched regulatory reach at a time when public anger is rising over issues like privacy, disinformation, data management and the enormous reach of the largest technology companies — like Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook — into the everyday lives of billions of people.

“Margrethe Vestager will be the most powerful regulator of Big Tech on the planet,” said Thomas Vinje, a veteran antitrust lawyer based in Brussels. “She will have more leverage than anyone else in the world.”

Ms. Vestager’s enhanced status reflects the European Union’s ambition to become the most activist tech regulator in the world, creating a far-reaching role for itself in the global economy. European officials see an opening to become the trusted global regulator, especially as their American counterparts have been criticized for doing too little.

As the digital giants branch out into new areas, including finance with Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency, regulators are finding it harder to keep up with the complex, highly sophisticated and opaque nature of the companies they’re meant to oversee, experts say.

Ms. Vestager’s new role, which combines digital regulation and antitrust enforcement, could be better suited to the new era of digital domination, according to supporters of more aggressive regulation.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155443785_9db74c7c-6489-4fa9-8c99-5bc8d872e874-articleLarge E.U.’s New Digital Czar: ‘Most Powerful Regulator of Big Tech on the Planet’ Vestager, Margrethe Regulation and Deregulation of Industry International Trade and World Market Google Inc Facebook Inc Data-Mining and Database Marketing Computers and the Internet Apple Inc Antitrust Laws and Competition Issues Amazon.com Inc

Ms. Vestager’s expanded role gives her unmatched regulatory reach over the technology industry at a time when public anger is rising over issues like data privacy.CreditMads Claus Rasmussen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Europe is clearly signaling that massive data harvesting must be considered a critical part of competition and regulatory analysis of market forces,” said Gene Kimmelman, the former chief counsel for policy in the antitrust division of the Justice Department during the Obama administration, referring to the huge amounts of personal information gathered by companies like Facebook. “It indicates Europe increasingly considers control of massive data likely plays a critical role in attaining dominance in digital markets.”

The unique characteristics of the digital world, including the inability for both consumers and regulators to see the algorithms that determine what users see in search results and news feeds, and what advertisers pay to reach them, make righting any potential wrongs in the industry even harder, Mr. Kimmelman, who now works for consumer-rights nonprofit Public Knowledge, said.

Ms. Vestager’s dual role as both a setter and enforcer of European Union rules could raise concerns about conflicts of interest and investing too much power in one office’s hands.

As part of her antitrust portfolio, she will be responsible for assessing if companies are using their market share to unfairly block out smaller competitors. And from her new perch as digital regulator, she can advance new rules on company behavior, including how they collect, use and store users’ data; and how they shield themselves against cyberattacks.

“Concentration of power is an issue,” said Mr. Vinje, the antitrust lawyer. “There is an efficiency benefit in having those powers combined in one person, but on the other hand there is always a benefit in debate and division of power, so one can question if this results in too much power.”

In her regulatory role, Ms. Vestager will be able to propose new legislation, but any law will need to be approved by European Union member states and the European Parliament, meaning her powers will be closely checked.

Ms. Vestager will also continue to oversee ongoing investigations, including whether Amazon is unfairly using data from third-party sellers who use its platform to improve its own offerings. Her office has also faced pressure to investigate if Apple is unfairly using its app store to harm competition, and to initiate further inquiry of Google.

Under Ms. Vestager’s direction, European Union antitrust authorities have already fined Google more than $9 billion over the last few years.

In 2017, her office levied a record $2.7 billion fine on Google for unfairly favoring its own online shopping-comparison service over those of competitors. Last year, the E.U. ordered Google to pay an additional $5.1 billion for abusing its power in the mobile phone market to cement the dominance of its software on the Android platform. This year, antitrust authorities fined Google another $1.7 billion, this time for abusing its dominance in online advertising.

“My kids or myself never consider for a minute that this is a U.S. company or a European company,” Ms. Vestagar told reporters. “The reason we use it is that Google has very good products.”CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

Her office has also ordered that Apple pay $14.5 billion in back taxes to Ireland and fined Facebook $122 million for combining the personal data of Facebook and WhatsApp users, after the company had explicitly said that it would not do so.

Ms. Vestager might broaden the scope of antitrust law to include how digital giants use data to gain an advantage over rivals. Academics, lawyers and competitors have argued that existing competition policies must evolve to better account for the use of personal information by Google, Facebook and Amazon to keep smaller rivals from emerging.

Not everyone thinks more regulation of the tech world is a good idea.

“Ms. Vestager is at the vanguard of tougher tech industry regulation on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Joe Kennedy, a senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank in Washington that has received funding from tech companies. “The strong danger now is that we’ll have overregulation, rather than under-regulation.”

Apart from the Silicon Valley giants, Ms. Vestager will oversee the technically difficult and politically controversial rollout of 5G across the European Union, where the Chinese manufacturer Huawei remains a powerful player despite being banned from the United States. Her staff will also be at the forefront of scrutinizing cybersecurity efforts across the bloc and its half a billion citizens.

Whether tech regulators in other parts of the world, notably the United States, will see the European approach as an example to follow remains uncertain.

“U.S. law and the courts are more conservative on antitrust,” Mr. Kimmelman said. He added: “We’ve had very little, almost no enforcement against the tech sector. Europe is in the leadership role.”

Still, American officials have recently started to follow Europe’s lead in some cases. The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are now probing the tech giants. And over the past week, a bipartisan group of state attorneys general announced investigations of Google and Facebook. Members of Congress have been calling for more oversight of the fast-growing and influential industry.

As for charges that she is out to get the United States and its digital champions, Ms. Vestager rejected the claim early on in her career, when she began her first investigation into Google in 2015.

“My kids or myself never consider for a minute that this is a U.S. company or a European company,” she told reporters. “The reason we use it is that Google has very good products.”

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Illinois police seek Walter White look-alike on probation violation

Police in Illinois are looking for a man who bears a startling resemblance to “Breaking Bad” protagonist Walter White — and is wanted for a probation violation related to methamphetamine possession, according to a local report.

The Galesburg Police Department in Illinois regularly posts mugshots of wanted people to its Facebook page, but the post for Sept. 3, which featured 50-year-old Todd Barrick Jr., got extra attention. Barrick’s mugshot shows him sporting glasses and a goatee, similar to the character played by Bryan Cranston on the AMC series. Barrick is also the same age as the Walter White character when the series begins.

NEW ZEALAND OFFICIALS FIND HALF A TON OF METH HIDDEN IN MOTORS FROM THAILAND

The Galesburg Police Department told KWQC-TV that Barrick’s probation violation was related to meth possession. The department did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Westlake Legal Group Walter-White-lookalike Illinois police seek Walter White look-alike on probation violation Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox-news/us/crime fox-news/newsedge/entertainment fox news fnc/us fnc e4a978db-c8e7-543e-ac68-b8e1e8731227 article

Police in Illinois are looking for a man who has “Breaking Bad” fans doing a double take because the suspect looks like the television show’s Walter White and coincidentally is wanted in relation to methamphetamine possession, according to a local report. (Galesburg Police Department)

“Breaking Bad” ran for five seasons between 2008 and 2013. The show told the story of White, a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with lung cancer and turns to manufacturing meth to ensure his family’s financial security after he dies.

“Heisenberg lives!” one Facebook user commented under the police department’s post, referring to an alias used by White on the show.

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“This new ‘Breaking Bad’ movie looks like it sucks!” another user wrote.

It was not immediately known if Barrick is currently in custody.

Westlake Legal Group Walter-White-lookalike Illinois police seek Walter White look-alike on probation violation Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox-news/us/crime fox-news/newsedge/entertainment fox news fnc/us fnc e4a978db-c8e7-543e-ac68-b8e1e8731227 article   Westlake Legal Group Walter-White-lookalike Illinois police seek Walter White look-alike on probation violation Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox-news/us/crime fox-news/newsedge/entertainment fox news fnc/us fnc e4a978db-c8e7-543e-ac68-b8e1e8731227 article

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Researchers challenge widely cited study linking Trump rallies to hate crimes

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084778793001_6084780465001-vs Researchers challenge widely cited study linking Trump rallies to hate crimes Maxim Lott fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning/trump-2020-campaign fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc cc01d800-73ce-548f-aeba-06228c0316b0 article

Media outlets lavished attention this year on a study that found hate crimes were a whopping 226 percent higher in counties where President Trump has held rallies — but researchers at another university are challenging those findings, saying there is no link between the two things once a basic flaw in the calculations is fixed.

The original unpublished study was covered by The Associated PressThe HillWiredUS News and World Report, and Business Insider. Those outlets cited a “study” without noting it had not been published in any journal.

TRUMP HOLDS FIERY RALLY AHEAD OF NC ELECTION

“A 226 percent increase in hate crimes. That is a real study,” MSNBC host Christopher Hayes told viewers.

MSNBC reported the finding on its airwaves seven times. CNN also covered the statistic, and Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ilhan Omar cited it to attack Trump.

Two economics Ph.D. candidates at Harvard University, Matthew Lilley and Brian Wheaton, have looked into the claim.

They first copied the unpublished study’s own methods and data. Using that, they repeated the same analysis for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 rallies. They reported finding that hers correlated with an even greater rise in hate crimes than Trump’s rallies did.

But the uptick is not necessarily because either of them were inflaming racial tensions. Rather, the researchers contend, it was due to flawed research methods. The new analysis suggested that the original researchers did not properly consider the populations of those counties – overlooking the detail that politicians tend to hold rallies in places with higher populations, which often see more hate crimes.

“Simply put, more populous places have more crimes and more rallies,” Lilley and Wheaton said in an email to Fox News.

They said researchers found the huge 226 percent increase because they compared those Trump-hosting populous counties with counties all across the country. The original authors’ paper did not compare hate crimes in the same counties before and after rallies.

When the Harvard Ph.D. candidates adjusted the number of hate crimes to account for a county’s population size, they found that there was no impact in places with Trump or Clinton rallies.

“The study is wrong, and yet journalists ran with it anyway,” Lilley and Wheaton wrote in a summary on Reason.com, where they first publicized their findings.

The authors of the original study – three professors at the University of North Texas – defended their work to Fox News.

While their draft paper does not address the population issue, they said they have completed previously unreleased analyses that do – and while those analyses find an increase much smaller than 226 percent, they still find an increase.

“The results of this auxiliary analysis renders findings that are both directionally consistent and statistically significant,” study author Regina Branton, a professor of political science at the University of North Texas, told Fox News.

She, along with Ayal Feinberg and Valerie Martinez-Ebers, showed Fox News their extra analysis factoring in population, which still claimed a 118 percent increase.

Lilley and Wheaton said the original researchers made another mistake and incorrectly controlled for population, by failing to take a “log” (logarithm) of population while using a statistical model that requires it, the details of which they outline in their critique.

“They didn’t fully control for population,” Lilley told Fox News.

Another statistics expert agreed with Lilley and Wheaton.

“If you use [the model used in the paper], you must use the log of population,” Carl Moody, an economics professor at the College of William and Mary who studies statistical research methods, told Fox News.

TRUMP FAMILY DYNASTY WILL LAST DECADES, CAMPAIGN CHIEF SAYS

Feinberg’s reply? “We stand by our methods and our results.”

Feinberg said the authors have thoroughly considered the statistics and are proceeding through the standard peer-review process that evaluates papers for formal publication.

Feinberg, Branton, and Martinez-Ebers also sent Fox News another previously unreleased analysis finding a 61 percent increase in hate crimes when comparing the same counties before and after rallies.

Lilley and Wheaton argue that the researchers failed to adjust for seasonal trends in hate crimes throughout the year.

Lilley and Wheaton have released their own data and analysis online. They said routine research methods shouldn’t have slipped by professors and the media for months, and suggest lack of political diversity may be to blame.

In universities, “liberals outnumber conservatives six to one,” the two noted in their Reason article, adding that in journalism there are “four times as many reporters identifying as Democrats than as Republicans.”

The original authors defend their impartiality.

“We fully and passionately reject any notion outright that our research is biased or was motivated by bias,” the original study authors wrote in a statement to Fox News.

They added that if their results had gone the other way, they would have publicized that, too. And speaking to the original findings, they said since the study came out, they’ve received “vile comments and threats from self-identified angry Trump supporters via email and telephone. Some of these comments have used extremely offensive prejudicial language to target our perceived ethnicity and gender.”

They described this response as constituting a “tremendous irony.”

Other Trump supporters pushed back on that narrative.

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“It’s downright wrong for the media to jump all over the idea that Trump rallies cause hate crimes,” Scott Presler, a Trump volunteer and activist, told Fox News. “The reality is the majority of Trump supporters are working-class families who deeply respect the president because he’s keeping his promises.”

Maxim Lott is Executive Producer of “Stossel TV” and creator of ElectionBettingOdds.com. He can be reached on Twitter at @MaximLott

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084778793001_6084780465001-vs Researchers challenge widely cited study linking Trump rallies to hate crimes Maxim Lott fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning/trump-2020-campaign fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc cc01d800-73ce-548f-aeba-06228c0316b0 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084778793001_6084780465001-vs Researchers challenge widely cited study linking Trump rallies to hate crimes Maxim Lott fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning/trump-2020-campaign fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc cc01d800-73ce-548f-aeba-06228c0316b0 article

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Taylor Swift threatened Microsoft with legal action over racist chatbot ‘Tay’

Don’t mess with Tay Tay.

Pop superstar Taylor Swift apparently tried to stop Microsoft from calling its chatbot Tay after the AI-powered bot morphed into a racist troll, according to Microsoft President Brad Smith.

In his new book, Tools and Weapons, Smith wrote about what happened when his company introduced a new chatbot in March 2016 that was meant to interact with young adults and teenagers on social media.

“The chatbot seems to have filled a social need in China, with users typically spending fifteen to twenty minutes talking with XiaoIce about their day, problems, hopes, and dreams,” Smith and his co-author wrote in the book. “Perhaps she fills a need in a society where children don’t have siblings?”

MICROSOFT CONTRACTORS ARE LISTENING TO YOUR INTIMATE CHATS ON SKYPE: REPORT

Westlake Legal Group Taylor-Swift_VMAs-2019 Taylor Swift threatened Microsoft with legal action over racist chatbot ‘Tay’ fox-news/tech/companies/microsoft fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 7cb9f3ad-d159-59c4-b632-faab548c817e

Taylor Swift arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

DOZENS OF GOOGLE EMPLOYEES WERE RETALIATED AGAINST FOR REPORTING HARASSMENT

The chatbot had been introduced in China first, where it was used for a range of different tasks, under a different name.

Unfortunately, once the bot launched in America, it became something very different after absorbing the racist and sexist vitriol that seems to be woven into the fabric of Twitter. The tech giant was forced to pull the plug on Tay less than 24 hours after its launch in America.

“Unfortunately, within the first 24 hours of coming online, we became aware of a coordinated effort by some users to abuse Tay’s commenting skills to have Tay respond in inappropriate ways,” explained a Microsoft spokesperson at the time. “As a result, we have taken Tay offline and are making adjustments.”

When Smith was on vaction, he received a letter from a Beverly Hills law firm that said in part: We represent Taylor Swift, on whose behalf this is directed to you. … the name ‘Tay,’ as I’m sure you must know, is closely associated with our client.”

The lawyer reportedly went on to argue that the use of the name Tay created a false and misleading association between the popular singer and the chatbot, and that it violated federal and state laws.

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According to Smith’s book, the company decided not to fight Swift — perhaps best for a singer rumored to hold grudges — and quickly began discussing a new name for the chatbot.

Westlake Legal Group Taylor-Swift_VMAs-2019 Taylor Swift threatened Microsoft with legal action over racist chatbot ‘Tay’ fox-news/tech/companies/microsoft fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 7cb9f3ad-d159-59c4-b632-faab548c817e   Westlake Legal Group Taylor-Swift_VMAs-2019 Taylor Swift threatened Microsoft with legal action over racist chatbot ‘Tay’ fox-news/tech/companies/microsoft fox news fnc/tech fnc Christopher Carbone article 7cb9f3ad-d159-59c4-b632-faab548c817e

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U.S. Census Bureau Reports Poverty Rate Down, But Millions Still Poor

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1168454861-1-_custom-b011f5ace623d6c37438e316f75037e09b0830d6-s1100-c15 U.S. Census Bureau Reports Poverty Rate Down, But Millions Still Poor

Lawrence, Mass., has struggled to find its economic base since the decline of manufacturing. While the city is witnessing pockets of investment, as of August 2019, one-third of Lawrence’s children lived in poverty, 36 percent of residents received aid under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and just over 24 percent of residents lived in poverty. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  U.S. Census Bureau Reports Poverty Rate Down, But Millions Still Poor

Lawrence, Mass., has struggled to find its economic base since the decline of manufacturing. While the city is witnessing pockets of investment, as of August 2019, one-third of Lawrence’s children lived in poverty, 36 percent of residents received aid under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and just over 24 percent of residents lived in poverty.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The U.S. poverty rate declined slightly last year, but finally fell below the 2007 level, right before the Great Recession pushed millions of Americans out of work and into financial distress.

The improving economy was a key factor in the decline. The U.S. Census Bureau noted in its annual report on income and poverty that there were 2.3 million more full-time, year-round workers last year and that median earnings for all such workers rose by more than three percent.

Amid these positive signs, the bureau reported separately that the number of people in the U.S. who did not have health insurance rose from 25.6 million people in 2017 to 27.5 million in 2018. That included 4.3 million children. Health advocacy groups called the increase extremely troubling and blamed declines in Medicaid coverage, especially for Hispanic children and children under the age of six.

Despite the decline in poverty, the Census Bureau found that 38.1 million people in 2018 were poor. This was 1.4 million fewer poor people than in 2017, but about one in eight Americans still lived below the poverty line — $25,465 for a family with two adults and two children.

Median household income last year was $63,179, not statistically different from the year before, but equal to the peak level reached in 1999.

The White House Council of Economic Advisers touted the new figures as a sign that President Trump’s economic policies are working.

“While Americans across the board generally saw improvements, the data show that in many cases those who had been forgotten in the past were lifted up the most,” the council said in a statement. Children and female-headed households saw some of the biggest declines in poverty.

But Elise Gould, a senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute, noted some disturbing trends. Although median household income rose for four consecutive years, the rate of growth and the income level has slowed significantly and is slightly below where it was almost two decades ago. “It’s a step in the right direction, but most families barely made up the ground lost” with the recession, she said.

There were also huge racial disparities in the figures. The median income for African-American households last year was $41,361, compared with $70,642 for white, non-Hispanic households. The poverty rate for blacks was almost 21 percent compared to about 8 percent for non-Hispanic whites.

Anti-poverty groups noted that the report also showed the importance of government safety-net programs in helping to keep millions of people from falling into poverty. In recent years, the Census Bureau has released a supplemental poverty measure along with the official one, which shows the impact of a range of benefits, including Social Security and tax breaks.

The 2018 supplemental poverty measure found that Social Security benefits kept more than 27 million people out of poverty last year and that refundable tax credits did the same for almost 8 million people. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, known as food stamps, also kept an estimated three million people from becoming poor.

These numbers will almost certainly be used by advocacy groups in their efforts to block Trump administration proposals to restrict this aid. Among other things, the president wants to impose new work requirements on those receiving SNAP benefits and Medicaid. The administration is also making it more difficult for immigrants who receive any public assistance from getting green cards.

Jared Bernstein, an economist with the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, noted the positive signs in the new report, but warned, “Such gains can demonstrably be reversed by policies hostile to them. It is thus extremely worrisome to consider the actions the Trump administration is taking to reduce government support of poor households, especially those with immigrants.”

The Census Bureau also found that there was little change in income inequality last year. The top 20 percent of households received more than half of all income. Woman also still earned 82 cents on the dollar, compared with men, the same as in 2017.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Republicans: History Will Remember You Backed Trump | “They can have that stain on their careers for the rest of their lives.”

Westlake Legal Group 8WlkVmsgHxiD0a4eInbkuOTZQXZvi1k0miLsREyKw2Q Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Republicans: History Will Remember You Backed Trump | “They can have that stain on their careers for the rest of their lives.” r/politics

I’m just afraid Republicans will get someone smart next time.

We need to de-emphasize what the Republicans will and will not do, and focus on what the Democratic Party does.

As long as the Democratic Party is full of the corporate Democrats who gleefully take money and the revolving door offers from the super-rich, we have nothing to oppose the Republicans with. Nothing.

Strength comes from within. We need to strengthen the progressive/left side instead of fretting over whatever the right is doing. Don’t let the right dictate your actions. Let the right dance to the tune of the left instead.

If all we do is react to the moves on the right, we are weak. We have to lead and let the right react instead.

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Why the Trump-Bolton breakup was inevitable. They clashed over Iran, North Korea and more

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Why the Trump-Bolton breakup was inevitable. They clashed over Iran, North Korea and more

President Trump has announced that John Bolton is out as National Security Adviser. Trump used Twitter to announce the staff change. USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – The political marriage between President Donald Trump and his hawkish national security adviser John Bolton was troubled from the start.

Trump campaigned on withdrawing the U.S. from “endless wars,” while Bolton embraced an aggressive, interventionist foreign policy agenda.

Trump sought negotiations with reviled despots. Bolton wanted the U.S. to topple them.

Their opposing views collided most recently over Afghanistan, spilling into public view over the weekend. Trump disclosed on Saturday that he had invited, and then uninvited, the Taliban – a militant Islamic group – to Camp David to seal a peace deal that would paved the way for a U.S. withdrawal from that 18-year war. Bolton argued that the Taliban could not be trusted.

Whether that rift was the last straw for Trump, or for Bolton, is not clear. That was just one of oh-so-many matters on which they disagreed.

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More: Donald Trump fires national security adviser John Bolton, citing ‘disagreements’

“You can only say ‘no, no, no’ to a president so many times,” said Aaron David Miller, who served as a top State Department negotiator for past presidents of both parties and is now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and – the last straw – Afghanistan … They were out of sync both personally and on policy.”

Take North Korea, for starters. Trump relished showy summits with Kim Jong Un, the country’s ruthless leader. Bolton was skeptical that such talks would amount to anything.

More: ‘Bolton contradicts Trump on whether he was fired

That was on display during the last Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, where North Korean officials offered to partially dismantle their country’s primary nuclear facility. Bolton, among others, successfully pressed Trump to reject the deal and demand full denuclearlization. The talks collapsed and both leaders went home empty-handed.

In the months since those negotiations stalled, North Korea has repeatedly tested short-range missiles – a provocation that Bolton has highlighted and Trump has downplayed.

More: North Korea says it’s ready to restart talks with the U.S., but then fires more weapons

Trump’s approach is to “stiff arm” his counterpart with one hand and offer an olive branch with the other, said James Carafano, a national security and foreign policy expert with the conservative Heritage Foundation. Bolton’s approach, he said, is to negotiate only an opponent’s surrender.

Carafano argued that despite those tactical differences, Trump and Bolton agreed on a broad swath of issues. They both strongly supported Brexit, the United Kingdom’s efforts to leave the European Union. They shared a distaste for the United Nations and agreed on the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, a landmark U.S.-Russia arms control treaty and other several other multilateral pacts.

More: Here’s what you missed about Brexit in the U.K. last week

But Bolton wanted to aggressively confront Iran, particularly after its military shot down a U.S. drone earlier this summer. He sought military options for ousting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. He opposed Trump’s plans to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

More: Iran reduces nuclear deal compliance, warns ‘not much time left’ to save accord

Trump viewed Bolton as a warmonger, and some of the president’s allies feared the hardline national security adviser was pulling him deeper into military conflicts, particularly in the Middle East. 

More: What a multi-million dollar ‘bribe’ for oil supertanker says about Trump’s Iran policy

“It seems clear that Bolton and Trump did not share anything close to a similar view of global affairs,” said Harry J. Kazianis, senior director of the Center for the National Interest, which advocates for “strategic realism” in U.S. foreign policy. “Trump is now free to find a national security adviser who is against wars of regime change, a smaller footprint in the Middle East, some sort of diplomatic track with North Korea and a much bigger focus on the rise of China.” 

Danielle Pletka said Iran may have been the most contentious foreign policy clash between Bolton and Trump.

More: Why Donald Trump’s plan to host Taliban at prestigious Camp David stirred bipartisan outrage

Trump has embraced a “maximum pressure” campaign aimed at isolating Iran economically and politically. But at the same time, the president has repeatedly said he would meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with no preconditions.

Such a session would likely make Bolton’s blood boil, said Pletka, senior vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank where Bolton served as a senior fellow before joining the Trump administration.

 “He doesn’t believe in the power of talk, except on truly rare occasions,” Pletka said. “He’s very, very hawkish.”

It’s perhaps fitting that Trump and Bolton even clashed on Tuesday as their inevitable divorce became official. Trump said in a tweet that he had fired Bolton because of their policy clashes.

“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” the president wrote on Tuesday. “I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration.” 

Bolton quickly responded with his own tweet: “I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow.'”

Contributing: Michael Collins

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Testimony details ‘weird and strange’ behavior of Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago

The trial of a Chinese woman arrested on charges of trespassing at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and then lying to Secret Service agents continued Tuesday with witness testimony detailing the defendant’s strange behavior prior to her arrest.

Yujing Zhang appeared again in court after an unusual first day, which included a brief delay due to an underwear snafu. She then proclaimed her innocence and thanked the U.S. in a 20-second opening statement – quite possibly one of the shortest in recorded legal history.

CHINESE WOMAN ARRESTED AT MAR-A-LAGO STALLS JURY SELECTION OVER LACK OF UNDERWEAR

“I don’t believe I did anything wrong and that’s what I want to say. USA, thank you,” the 33-year-old Shanghai business consultant said Monday.

Westlake Legal Group Yujing-Zhang-court-sketch Testimony details 'weird and strange' behavior of Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article ab0bb6e3-3737-543b-9eea-24017b99670d

Zhang is accused of trespassing at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and lying to Secret Service agents. (Daniel Pontet via AP, File)

On Tuesday, Mar-a-Lago receptionist Ariela Grumaz testified that Zhang was acting “weird and strange” on March 30, prompting her to confront the Chinese national and alert the Secret Service.

Zhang made herself conspicuous by taking photos and video inside the lavish lobby in violation of rules while wearing a gray evening dress at 1 p.m., Grumaz said. After calling agents, Grumaz said Zhang went into a women’s restroom, where she found her pacing and frantically sending text messages.

Sam Ivanovich, the agent Grumaz had alerted, testified that Zhang was carrying a computer, cellphones and other electronics. He also testified that agents later found a signal detector meant to spot hidden cameras and a significant amount of cash stashed in her area hotel room.

Westlake Legal Group Yujing-Zhang Testimony details 'weird and strange' behavior of Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article ab0bb6e3-3737-543b-9eea-24017b99670d

Zhang has repeatedly upheld her innocence despite facing up to six years in prison. (Broward Sheriff’s Office)

Ivanovich said her story didn’t add up when agents questioned her. Zhang had told him she arrived early to take photos of the property before a United Nations Friendship event, even after she was repeatedly told no such event was scheduled, he said.

She seemingly contradicted an earlier statement that she was there to use the pool, although she didn’t have a swimsuit in her possession, Ivanovich testified.

CHINESE WOMAN ARRESTED AT MAR-A-LAGO CAN REPRESENT SELF AT TRIAL, BUT IS MAKING ‘BAD DECISION,’ JUDGE SAYS

After the 33-year-old became “aggressive” toward agents, she was taken to the Secret Service’s West Palm Beach office, he said. She told agents there that her invitation to the Friendship event was part of a package she purchased from a man she knew only as “Charles” through a Chinese Internet service similar to Facebook.

A translator was set to testify later Tuesday that Charles sent two messages to Zhang before she left China saying the event was canceled, prosecutors said.

Westlake Legal Group Mar-a-Lago20iStock-1 Testimony details 'weird and strange' behavior of Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article ab0bb6e3-3737-543b-9eea-24017b99670d

Zhang said she was attending a UN Friendship event at Mar-a-Lago, although no such event was scheduled, according to witness testimony. (iStock)

Zhang has pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful entry and making false statements. She faces up to six years in prison if convicted.

She fired her public defenders in June against the recommendation of U.S. District Judge Roy Altman in order to represent herself with the use of a translator.

Altman stepped in on her behalf on one occasion Tuesday when a defense attorney would have objected to prosecutor questions about what Zhang’s behavior has to do with the charges. He ultimately allowed the line of questioning to stand.

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Zhang, who has usually been silent, attempted to object a few times, challenging the introduction of Mar-a-Lago photos and her cellphone, saying they were “sensitive.” Altman rejected her challenges.

Meanwhile, China’s foreign affairs ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Tuesday that anyone who believes Zhang is a spy is engaged in “science fiction.” She demanded the U.S. handle the case “in a fair and proper manner according to the law.”

Fox News’ Greg Norman, Travis Fedschun and Samuel Chamberlain and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Yujing-Zhang-court-sketch Testimony details 'weird and strange' behavior of Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article ab0bb6e3-3737-543b-9eea-24017b99670d   Westlake Legal Group Yujing-Zhang-court-sketch Testimony details 'weird and strange' behavior of Chinese woman arrested at Mar-a-Lago Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article ab0bb6e3-3737-543b-9eea-24017b99670d

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Watch: Reporter caught making crude remark during Pompeo, Mnuchin media conference

Westlake Legal Group Pompeo-press-briefing-2 Watch: Reporter caught making crude remark during Pompeo, Mnuchin media conference Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/cabinet fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc e0fc3e60-eddb-515c-94f1-5eb116497d71 article

At the conclusion of a media conference regarding the departure of John Bolton from the White House, one reporter was caught making a crude comment by a live microphone.

The reporter’s comments were audible after a press briefing in which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the president’s decision to remove Bolton.

As Pompeo was leaving the White House briefing room, the reporter could be heard saying: “God almighty. That’s a s–tshow.” Reporters in the room had complained about the set-up of the conference — claiming it was difficult to hear and questions were not asked in a structured way.

During the media conference, Pompeo said that he wasn’t surprised by Bolton’s departure, which came after the former NSA was reportedly sidelined from major discussions about Afghanistan.

TRUMP OUSTS NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER JOHN BOLTON, SAYS THEY ‘DISAGREED STRONGLY’ ON POLICY

The briefing was initially intended to focus on an executive order surrounding sanctions on individuals with ties to terrorism.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who also attended, said that even with Bolton’s departure, the administration would continue pressuring Iran.

Bolton, who served in former President George W. Bush’s administration, has come under fire for pushing an aggressive, interventionist foreign policy that appeared to conflict with some of the president’s campaign promises.

Trump said on Tuesday that he and others in the administration strongly disagreed with suggestions that Bolton made

BRET BAIER: JOHN BOLTON’S DEPARTURE FROM WHITE HOUSE FOLLOWS WEEKS OF ‘WHISPERS’

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“I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week,” Trump tweeted.

It’s unclear what exactly happened between Trump and Bolton as the latter claimed that he offered Trump his resignation rather than Trump requesting it himself.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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Why the Arab World Isn’t Outraged by Netanyahu’s West Bank Vow

Westlake Legal Group 10arab-reax-facebookJumbo Why the Arab World Isn’t Outraged by Netanyahu’s West Bank Vow Palestinians Netanyahu, Benjamin Israel

BEIRUT — At one time, if the prime minister of Israel had vowed to extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, the unilateral promise would have set off outrage across the Arab world.

Not today.

The reasons for the muted response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election promise on Tuesday were many: It was seen as a late-game appeal by Mr. Netanyahu to right-wing voters. Israel already has de facto control of the territory in question. And the Palestinian cause no longer stirs passions across the region as it once did.

“Yes they care,” the Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab said of Arabs in other countries. “But will they move their troops? No. Are they going to withdraw their money from American banks? No.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s vow comes after strategic shifts in the Middle East have pushed the Palestinian cause down the priority list of many Arab leaders and their peoples. It also follows President Trump’s endorsement of a number of unilateral steps by Israel toward other disputed territories.

Across the region, Arab states like Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Iraq are still reeling from the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings and the fight against the Islamic State, leaving them more focused on internal issues. And Persian Gulf monarchies like Saudi Arabia, which once staunchly backed the Palestinians, now worry more about Iran’s regional influence, a concern they share with Israel.

Those changes have left the Palestinians with fewer Arab allies willing to stand up for their cause.

“For the most part, the Palestinian issue has fallen off the agenda,” said Khaled Elgindy, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of a book about American involvement in the conflict.

Arab leaders may also avoid denouncing Mr. Netanyahu and his plans because they are unwilling or unable to confront him.

“It raises expectations,” Mr. Elgindy said. “If they say, ‘We oppose this. This is terrible,’ then there is an expectation from their people that they will do something about it.”

That does not mean that the Arab public does not care, he said. Support for the idea of a Palestinian state remains a rare issue that still generates broad consensus across the Arab world, even if people are not out protesting about it.

The issue is particularly sensitive for Jordan, a close United States ally that has a peace treaty with Israel but sits across the Jordan River from the very territory Mr. Netanyahu seeks to annex.

On Tuesday, Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s foreign minister, criticized Mr. Netanyahu’s vow on Twitter as “a serious escalation that undermines all peace efforts.”

“It’ll lead to more violence & conflict,” he wrote.

Mr. Trump’s unambiguous support for Israel over the Palestinians also played a role.

While previous presidents sought to maintain an air of American impartiality and often met with Palestinian officials as part of the effort to support a two-state solution, Mr. Trump has cast his lot with the Israelis. He has not met with Palestinian leaders and he has ordered the closure of the Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Mr. Trump has also changed American policy by endorsing unilateral Israeli actions toward disputed territories.

He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the United States Embassy there, a departure from the previous United States position that the status of the holy city should be determined through negotiations.

The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their hoped-for state in the West Bank and Gaza.

Mr. Trump also recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria during the 1967 Mideast war.

Since Arab reaction to those moves was muted, Mr. Netanyahu’s Jordan Valley promise was unlikely to stir waves in the region, said Lina Khatib, the head of the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House.

“The Arab world will approach his promise as a campaign statement in the run-up to the forthcoming Israeli elections in which Netanyahu needs a decisive win that would allow him to form a government,” she said.

The Jordan Valley is the strip of territory on the western side of the Jordan River in the West Bank, which Israel occupied in 1967.

The area is now home to about 11,000 Israelis who live in Jewish settlements and about 65,000 Palestinians who live in the biblical city of Jericho and in farming and herding communities, according to B’Tselem, an Israeli rights group.

Ninety percent of the territory is already under Israeli administrative and military control, and Palestinians are barred from entering or using about 85 percent of it, the group says.

Israel has long argued that control of the Jordan Valley is necessary for its security. Mr. Netanyahu on Tuesday called it “Israel’s eastern border.”

The Palestinians, human rights groups and many other nations argue that Israel cannot legally annex the territory, which the Palestinians need for their hoped-for state.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement that “all signed agreements with Israel and the obligations resulting from them would end” if Israel annexed the land.

Others noted that an actual Israel annexation of the Jordan Valley would leave most Palestinian areas in the West Bank surrounded, perhaps driving the final nail into the coffin of the two-state solution.

Mr. Kuttab, the Palestinian journalist, said that he still supported the idea of a Palestinian state but that his children had given up hope, feeling that Israel has already seized too much land to make it possible.

“They say that with so many settlements in the West Bank, there is no way to create a state,” he said. “So the better long-term solution is fighting for equality.”

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