Donald Trump and Republicans need to improve public opinion of tax bill

President Trump is coming to Cincinnati on Monday to pitch his new tax law as a boon for America’s economy.Polls show the nation has warmed to the law since Republicans approved it in December, but Trump still has some work to do. A majority of Americans remain skeptical the tax overhaul will help them or the broader economy, recent surveys say.The effort to turn public opinion is crucial because Trump and his fellow Republicans have made the law the cornerstone of their campaign to hold on to power after the November midterm elections. More: First Lady Melania Trump visiting Cincinnati Children's Hospital Monday More: Make America late again: Routes to avoid during President Trump's Monday visit to Cincinnati More: Wait, can Air Force One land at Lunken? The president expects to find a friendly audience here, just as he did when he held rallies in Greater Cincinnati during and after the presidential campaign in 2016. He won Ohio by 8 percentage points.After flying into Cincinnati, Trump plans to visit Sheffer Corp. in Blue Ash, which makes industrial cylinders. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, also a Republican, laid the groundwork for the visit in January when he toured the plant to tout the tax law.At the time, Portman said Sheffer had given its employees $1,000 bonuses in December as a result of the tax law.Trump is expected to deliver a speech at the plant sometime after the tour. It’s not known whether he will make any other stops while he’s in town.The stakes are high for Trump and Republicans as they travel the country making their case for the tax law in advance of the midterm elections. The GOP has a razor-thin 51-49 majority in the Senate, and both parties are bracing for a dogfight for control of the House.Republicans pushed the tax law through Congress with little public discussion and passed it with no Democratic support. The law slashes corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent and also cuts individual Continue Reading

After acquittal, Rick Brunson addresses court of public opinion

For close to 16 months, Rick Brunson has remained publicly silent. The former Bulls player and former Bulls assistant coach listened as his name was sullied and as taunts were tossed at his son, the reigning Mr. Basketball of Illinois and Villanova-bound Jalen. He watched as job opportunities for his coaching career dwindled. And he waited for his day in court, when he took the stand and told his truth of what happened on April 2, 2014. Lake County Judge James Booras agreed with Brunson in a bench trial, acquitting him of all charges he had sexually abused a massage therapist at Vernon Hills’ Lifetime Fitness. Sometimes, the court of public opinion is tougher. "I want to move forward," Brunson said. "I just want to clear my name. I'm not an angel. But I'm damn sure not a criminal." In a startlingly candid interview, Brunson went into painstaking detail to deny each charge against him. He expressed disappointment with the Vernon Hills Police Department and said his case can serve as an instructional tale for those with name recognition and money. "People are looking at it like did he do it or did he have a good lawyer to get him off," Brunson said. "I didn't beat a case. There was no case to beat because I didn't do anything wrong. "The woman changed her story three times. It was all about money, financial gain. That was it." Most poignantly, Brunson elaborated on his court testimony that the incident that led to charges of attempted criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse, aggravated battery and domestic battery was part of an ongoing extramarital relationship and emphatically defended his son, who led Stevenson High to its first state championship and recently earned MVP honors as USA Basketball won gold at the FIBA under-19 world championships in Greece. "It has been hell," Brunson said. "My son is one of the toughest kids I've ever seen. If it was me, I would never have been able to handle what he handled, people taunting him. He's an 18-year-old kid Continue Reading

Daniel Yankelovich, master of public opinion research, dies at 92

Daniel Yankelovich, the pollster, author and public opinion analyst who for a half-century mirrored the perceptions of generations of Americans about politics, consumer products, social changes and, not least, themselves, died on Friday morning at his home in La Jolla. He was 92.His daughter, Nicole Yankelovich Mordecai, said the cause was kidney failure.Until the late 1950s, market research, when done at all, was a relatively crude way of trying to figure out whether a new soap or a set of kickable tires would go over with the American public. Often it was just guesswork. No corporation today would risk introducing a product without knowing, in advance, how well it is likely to sell, what it should look like, what to call it, and how to package, advertise and distribute it.Mr. Yankelovich (pronounced yank-el-OH-vich), an ebullient egghead with a passion for research, was part of a coterie of pollsters who changed all that. He came along at the right time with the idea that all kinds of academic discipline — psychology, sociology, statistical analysis and other offerings from the course catalogs — could be harnessed to the service of business, government and the masses.One of the nation’s most respected social researchers, Mr. Yankelovich devised innovative surveys of small representative groups not only to track American preferences in cars and toothpaste, but also to understand the values and goals of ordinary people — what made them feel moral, happy or fulfilled, or miserable and marginalized in an affluent but impersonal society.Unlike the pioneering pollsters George Gallup, Elmo Roper and Louis Harris, Mr. Yankelovich did not stress election results, though he accurately called some presidential races, and his work helped national leaders, including Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, shape political agendas and domestic and foreign policies.He focused more on detailing, and explaining, shifting trends in American life: the Continue Reading

Winning the Fight for Public Opinion

Carlos Saavedra has been a leader in the Student Immigrant Movement and the United We Dream Network. Kate Werning, who also contributed to this article, has worked with Voces de la Frontera and, more recently, with Saavedra at the Movement Mastery Institute. The majority of people in America feel that politicians and major institutions are not providing for them. That’s the same way I felt when I graduated from high school ten years ago without documents. A few days after my graduation, Mitt Romney vetoed legislation that would have allowed my peers and me access to higher education in Massachusetts. I was undocumented and therefore unheard, unaccounted for. But there have been times in history when people have stood up and successfully changed their lives. I believe there are three things that allow that to happen. The process begins when people stop looking up for power and resources—to institutions, to politicians—and begin looking to the side. They look to neighbors, family, community—and realize the people at the top cannot function without their cooperation. Changing laws is not the first step in achieving transformation. Rather, we need to focus on winning public opinion, and then activating the public to take a stance on our beliefs. When the public is won and activated, politicians will be forced to react, and policies will change. One successful example of this is the way Dreamers have won popular support for immigrant youth, which has led to reform at the national and state level. Our movement has focused on direct actions that target the public. Now, after years of winning small victories, a majority believes that people like my brother Rodrigo deserve a chance to be a part of this nation. We won temporary relief in 2012 with Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals directive, but we need a much larger solution that addresses the crises of family separation and abuse in our community. The second step is that Continue Reading

How Much Has Public Opinion Driven the Greek Debt Negotiations?

While Greeks’ rejection of austerity in last week’s referendum may not have had the desired effect, that doesn’t mean public opinion in Europe is impotent. To the contrary, both the hardline stance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the more accommodating position of French President François Hollande hew closely to their electorates’ beliefs (which those politicians have, in turn, helped to shape), while the leaders of Southern European nations like Spain and Italy have used Greece as a fable for the perils of rejecting austerity, in the hopes of quelling populist movements in their own countries. To better understand the impact of public opinion on Greek negotiations, we’ve taken a look at some of the most influential countries participating in the ongoing discussions about Greece’s future: Germany Merkel’s hardline approach to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is rivaled only by that of average Germans. In fact, the German public has taken a more severe stance against any form of debt relief for Greece: A poll conducted shortly after the Greek referendum found that 60 percent of Germans supported a Greek exit (“Grexit”) from the euro zone—almost the same percentage as the “no” vote won during the Greek referendum—and 70 percent opposed any further concessions by the European Union. German voters have expressed strong support for their leaders’ performance in negotiations: Two-thirds of voters said they approved of Merkel’s diplomatic efforts, and 70 percent lauded the even more hardline Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, suggesting that German leaders have very little internal pressure to change their tack towards Greece. Of course, the German public might just be echoing the unrelenting anti-Greek messaging they’ve been hearing from their leaders and the press: Schäuble has repeatedly accused Greek leaders of making “false Continue Reading

Hannibal Buress says 2014 Bill Cosby joke ‘shouldn’t really influence public opinion’

The comedian whose joke about Bill Cosby's sexual assault allegations sparked an international outrage against the once-beloved funnyman definitely doesn't want to be the face of the anti-Cosby club. Hannibal Buress — whose 2014 aside, "You rape women, Bill Cosby," brought to light Cosby's murky past — now says he never meant for his jokes to destroy the disgraced comic's reputation. "It's weird that a joke turned into that," Buress said at a Television Critics Association event Sunday. "I was doing a joke in my show — so that shouldn't really influence public opinion or influence. It's not what a joke should … I don't know if it should go that far." Few people were aware of the harrowing implications against Cosby before Buress pointed out in an October 2014 standup routine in Philadelphia that many women had filed lawsuits against the iconic funnyman. "Thirteen?" Buress asked, referring to the number of allegations at the time. "It's even worse because Bill Cosby has the f----n' smuggest old black man public persona that I hate." "He gets on TV (and says), 'Pull your pants up black people,'" Buress continued, before adding, "Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches." Things have snowballed since — as Cosby has now been accused by nearly 60 women and was charged with sexual assault for the first time last month. The 32-year-old Buress says he's surprised by how much the public's perception of "The Cosby Show" star has changed since he made those fateful jokes — but he contends that wasn't the purpose of his bit. "I didn't put the joke out," he said. "It was stand-up and then it was put out, so that wasn't my intention." "If you look at the joke, my quote is like, 'Oh, I just watched 'The Cosby Show,' it's kind of weird,'" he added. "I didn't expect anything to come from that." It's not the first time he's downplayed his jokes since they went viral. Buress told Continue Reading

O’Reilly: Donald Sterling Is ‘Finished in the Court of Public Opinion’

In tonight’s Talking Points Memo, Bill O’Reilly addressed recent racist remarks from both Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. O’Reilly said that both men are “finished in the court of public opinion,” and he said the reason that people say racist things is because they’re ignorant and have a sense of entitlement. “Cliven Bundy sincerely believes that he should be exempt from paying grazing taxes, an insane sense of entitlement when others in his circumstance have to pay them and are paying them. Sterling has too much money and thinks he can shoot his mouth off and say whatever he wants because he has bought his way out of past controversies,” O’Reilly said. Latest on Donald Sterling Race Controversy, Hear Donald Trump's Take In 2005, Sterling settled a discrimination lawsuit brought up by minority tenants in L.A. In 2009, he settled a federal lawsuit and had to pay close to $3 million. Also, in 2009, former Clippers manager Elgin Baylor unsuccessfully sued Sterling for racial discrimination. “There is no question that Sterling has a problem,” O’Reilly said. “But here’s the headline: it’s primarily his problem, not the country’s problem,” O’Reilly said. “He’s shameful but does not represent anyone other than himself.” NBA Investigating Alleged Racial Remarks by LA Clippers Owner O’Reilly called people who make such remarks “misguided individuals” and said that there are bigots in every country and of every race. “For the rest of his life, Donald Sterling will be a pariah, he will not be celebrated anywhere or welcomed anywhere other than the lunatic fringe precincts,” he said. Watch the full Talking Points Memo above. Continue Reading

Joe Paterno will try to complete the Penn State season, but he’s already finished in the court of public opinion

Finally, the other shoe has dropped. Penn State coach Joe Paterno, feeling the pressure of the mounting sex abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and minor children, has decided to retire at the end of the 2011 season. From a moral standpoint, he really had no choice. Legally, he may be off the hook, depending on how the case unfolds, but that doesn’t migitate the national outrage. PHOTOS: JOE PATERNO'S 46-YEAR CAREER BLOWS UP AMID SCANDAL Meanwhile, the show must go on. The Nittany Lions still have three regular season games left, starting with a home game against Nebraska on Saturday. In his statement on Wednesday, Paterno, whose team is 8-1 and 5-0 in the Big Ten, said he wanted to coach the rest of the season and finish up his career with integrity: Reality, however, may intrude. It might be ugly when the Lions take the field at home against the Cornhuskers, but that could be mild compared to the crowd response he might receive when they play as an underdog against Ohio State and Wisconsin in Columbus and liberal Madison. Even though he holds the record for the most wins by a Division I football coach, Paterno could end the season 8-4 with all these distractions circulating around him. But no matter the final record, in the court of public opinion, he is a loser. His success on the field will always be overshadowed by his moral failure. The 2011 football season is winding down, but the scandal and its subsequent investigation into a coverup are just beginning. What should have been the culmination of an almost 50-year career at Penn State has become what must be a nightmare to him personally and to the university he loyally served. And not just on the football field. Paterno and his wife, Sue, donated $4 million to help build the school library, and raised additional funding for the building that bears their names. An additional donation to build a Catholic center on campus bears witness to their feeling for the Penn State Continue Reading


MEL GIBSON copped a plea yesterday in his drunken driving case, but Jewish groups said the jury is still out on his anti-Semitic meltdown during his bust. The actor's attorney entered a no contest plea on his behalf in a Malibu, Calif., courtroom. Superior Court Judge Lawrence Mira sentenced Gibson to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the next year, enroll in an alcohol-abuse program and pay a $1,300 fine. Gibson's driver's license was also suspended for 90 days. "This was an appropriate outcome, which addresses all the public safety concerns of drinking and driving," said prosecutor Gina Satriano. Satriano said Gibson, who has checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center, also volunteered to do a public service announcement on the hazards of drinking and driving. While the "Braveheart" star sets off to meet his court-ordered requirements, he has done little to redeem himself in the court of public opinion. "There's much more to that incident than driving under the influence," said David Marwell, director of New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage. Marwell said Gibson has yet to accept an invitation to come to the museum to learn about Jewish history. Gibson was collared July 28 when a sheriff's deputy clocked his 2006 Lexus LS doing 85 mph in a 45-mph zone on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Gibson's blood-alcohol level was almost double the legal limit of .08, and an open bottle of tequila was found in his car. While being taken into custody, Gibson launched into an ugly rant, screaming, "F-----g Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson apologized, blaming the "despicable" remarks on a "horrific relapse" in his battle with alcoholism. But Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Gibson "hasn't taken any steps to redress the form of bigotry he displayed." "What we cannot do is offer him absolution based on an eloquent press release," said Hier, who is also an Academy Award-winning Continue Reading

‘Inside Amy Schumer’ takes on Bill Cosby sex scandal in ‘Court of Public Opinion’

Amy Schumer is defending Bill Cosby on rape charges — at least in the Court of Public Opinion. The star is sure to come under fire for the bold skit which premiered on Tuesday's episode of "Inside Amy Schumer", which sees her defending the embattled comedian against multiple allegations of sexual assault. Schumer tackles the ongoing scandal by presenting his fictional trial in the “court of public opinion,” and contrasts the allegations against Cosby with his beloved TV persona. “We've heard a lot of stuff about what's happened in the past few weeks, about what may or may not have happened,” she says. “All these women, same story, same facts. But how do you feel when I play this?” she says, before screening a short clip from “The Cosby Show.” MORE: BILL COSBY'S FULL 'NIGHTLINE' INTERVIEW ON SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS OFFERS NO ANSWERS “Did anybody feel raped by that?” she asks. "How about drugged?” “I felt comforted by a familiar father figure: nostalgia,” Schumer added. “I’m a good person. I like this good show. Last time I checked good plus good did not equal guilty.” The prosecution protests Schumer’s argument, but she steamrolls past her by gifting the jury with the comedian’s signature items: pudding pops and Cosby sweaters. “How can the face of such a yummy treat do anything bad?” Schumer says. Schumer concludes her argument by telling the jury that to convict Cosby would be to punish themselves for their love of his show. “This is a court of public opinion,” she says. “If convicted, the next time you put on a rerun of ‘The Cosby Show’ you may wince a little, you might feel a little pang. “And none of us deserve that. We don't deserve to feel that pang. We deserve to dance like no one's watching, and watch like no one's raping.” MORE: 5 THING YOU DIDN'T KNOW Continue Reading