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Today's Commentary:  How to thwart leaks and still inform the media -- Open Season on Bookstores in California -- Why Trump Is Going To The Vatican, Israel and Saudi Arabia

Dear Friends,

President Trump is attempting to plug the leaks from the White House in ways that make absolute sense: acting quickly and decisively, before many people have a clue of what he’s planning to do; and at the same time, keeping his inner circle very small. But that also makes it challenging to bring the staff up to speed in time for daily press briefings. So Trump muses about doing away with the daily briefing. And the press goes crazy.

What we have now is an obligatory three-ring circus every afternoon, with reporters playing the hungry lions and tigers who would like nothing more than to eat the elephants (GOP) in the center ring. They love the smell of blood so much that they can “detect” it even when it’s not there, and they’ll swallow anything that can be torn into pieces and squeezed to fit into their own narrative. To take the analogy even further –- sorry –- the communications specialists are the tightrope walkers, performing without a net above the lions and tigers. Come to think of it, maybe they’re the ones getting shot out of a cannon; that metaphor may be even more apt.

In the media’s ideal world, Trump can’t win no matter what he does –- either he continues the status quo and the leaks continue, or he changes it and gets accused of lacking transparency. It’s easy to see why Trump might want to do away with this animal act. Ringling Bros. did that. But they turned out to be in a can’t-win situation as well.


Mike Huckabee

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Open Season On Bookstores in California

By Mike Huckabee

Neighborhood bookstores used to be places not just to buy books but to meet friends old and new, explore the racks, ponder ideas, and introduce children to the adventure of reading. But today, online sales have cut into bookstores’ bottom line so much that many have no choice but to close up shop forever. Even the biggest chains have many fewer locations today than they used to. The survivors must do all they can to remind readers of the many reasons to visit a bookstore.

One of the biggest reasons has traditionally been book signings. It’s exciting to meet a favorite or emerging author and walk out of the store with something that’s been personalized. Speaking from my own experience, it’s rewarding for the authors as well, giving us a unique opportunity to promote our work and to meet and thank people from around the country who are interested enough to come out and stand in line. But because of new and outrageously restrictive state regulations on signed merchandise –- designed to protect buyers of sports and entertainment memorabilia but maddeningly misapplied here –- Californians may have to start thinking of book signings as relics of the past, like free speech at Berkeley. The rules are so complicated and the legal risks so high that bookstore owners will likely just give up hosting them.

Details are at the link, along with a video interview with Bill Petrocelli, owner of beloved Bay Area bookstore Book Passage. After seeing this, you are guaranteed to be just as exasperated as I am.

On the bright side, a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Book Passage, which typically hosts about 700 author events each year. If anything deserves to be a relic of the past, it’s a toxic law like this one that further inhibits free expression.



Why Trump is going to the Vatican, Israel and Saudi Arabia...

By Mike Huckabee

President Trump announced his first trip overseas since taking office, to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican. A spokesman said the trip is historic because it’s the first-ever Presidential trip to the homelands and holy sites of three of the world’s great religions. The goal is to reaffirm American leadership, build relationships with world leaders and broadcast a message of unity to our friends and the faithful of those three religions. More details are at the link.

Incidentally, the headline says that Trump will advocate for peace and religious tolerance. Start the countdown to liberals declaring they now oppose peace and religious tolerance.


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