Inside the Beltway: Alarmed by the Feds

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Some Americans feel like they live in a police state, others are discouraged by a sense of waning opportunity or flagging optimism. Do we have national malaise? Yes. It’s called “federal government,” suggests some new research.

“Overall, 53 percent of Americans think that the federal government threatens their own rights and freedoms,” says a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which also reveals that 70 percent of Republicans feel this threat, as do 76 percent of conservative Republicans. In contrast, 38 percent of Democrats agree, as do 34 percent among liberal Democrats.

Then there is the matter of trust. Or distrust.

“For the past seven years, a period covering the final two years of the Bush administration and Obama’s entire presidency, no more than about three-in-10 Americans have said that they trust the government in Washington to do the right thing always or most of the time,” Pew says. “The current survey finds only about quarter (26 percent) saying they can trust the government always or most of the time, while nearly three-quarters (73 percent) say that they can trust government only some of the time, or volunteer that they can never trust the government.”

AN EYE ON MR. GORE

A call for a congressional investigation of Al Gore’s recent business dealings with Al-Jazeera looms. Coming to the National Press Club on Tuesday to announce their demand for close attention: Cliff Kincaid, president of America’s Survival; Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative; plus Jerry Kenney, who has previously filed complaints with the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission over what he calls Al-Jazeera’s “illegal broadcasts into the U.S.”

Mr. Gore recently sold Current TV, the news channel he founded in 2006, to Al-Jazeera, an Arabic language network based in Qatar. Mr. Gore, incidentally, is currently on a national tour for “The Future,” his new book.

“While Americans are packing theaters to watch the movie ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and celebrate the death of terrorist Osama bin Laden, the former al Qaeda’s leader’s favorite TV channel is coming to 40 million to 50 million American homes,” Mr. Kincaid says. “Al-Jazeera should be exposed as a homeland security threat that already has American blood on its hands.”

AN EYE ON THE SUPER BOWL

“The Obama administration can promote camaraderie among the American people, keep the streets safer for our children on Sunday night and Monday morning, promote a productive workplace when work resumes on Tuesday, and honor the most popular event in modern American culture.”

(From a White House online petition asking President Obama to declare the Monday following Super Bowl Sunday a national holiday.)

EYE ON THE PRESIDENT

The Super Bowl menu at the White House is always big news; in past years, it has included home-brewed beer, deep-dish pizza, bratwurst, buffalo wings, guacamole and chips. The good stuff. Let’s hope the menu repeats, maybe with a kale salad or something to do with White House-grown cabbage.

President Obama, meanwhile, is part of the television coverage. CBS News anchor Scott Pelley will chat with Mr. Obama live from the White House as part of the official pregame extravaganza. The potential audience? Fox News host Bill O’Reilly pulled in an easy 17 million viewers when he interviewed the president before the big game in 2012. Mr. Pelley, incidentally, says his goal on Sunday will be to “make news.”

HOT OVER WARMING

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