Morning Briefing: October 5, 2011

A new poll finds that “one in three U.S. veterans of the post-9/11 military believes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting.” The “first of its kind” Pew Research poll finds that veterans are “scarred by warfare and convinced that the American public has little understanding” of the problems wartime service created for them and their families.

Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested last week have filed suit against the city of New York, alleging they were victims of a police trap. The suit says the protesters were led onto the Brooklyn Bridge by officers, only to be arrested for being in the roadway. A representative for the protesters said they believed the NYPD’s actions were “premeditated, planned, scripted, and calculated.”

A “growing chorus of analysts” is predicting that the European debt crisis will turn into the continent’s second major recession in three years. European stocks plunged again Tuesday, and worries about a second European recession have begun to spread around the world as major countries, including the United States, fear its global impact.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated that Congress should not cut spending while the economy is weak, telling Congress yesterday that deep spending cuts would imperil the economic recovery by driving down aggregate demand for good and services when the private sector is too weak on its own.

Congress’ approval rating continues to drop as more Americans disapprove of Congress than at any other point in the last 20 years. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll, 62 percent of people said they “strongly disapprove” of Congress, while only 18 percent of Democrats, 13 percent of independents and Republicans say they approve of Congress.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (WV) held on to his seat in a special gubernatorial election yesterday, a race widely seen as a barometer of voter mood ahead of the 2012 presidential election.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) agreed with a man in Iowa yesterday calling for President Obama’s impeachment. On the campaign trail, Bachmann was asked by a man in the crowd, “When will we impeach [Obama]?” “Well, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you, I agree, I agree. Some people are really upset,” she replied, before moving on to the next question.

A federal appeals court upheld the District of Columbia’s tough gun laws yesterday, which were put in place after the Supreme Court struck down an outright handgun ban. DC’s new restrictions include a ban on semiautomatic rifles and large-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as a stringent its handgun-registration requirement. “The ruling is the latest in a string of judicial setbacks for gun-rights activists.”

The House easily approved and the president signed a stopgap funding measure yesterday that will fund the federal government through Nov. 18. The passage “was expected, after both parties last week found a way around” the FEMA funding fight and removed language that stripped funding for a renewable energy loan program.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is considering a tax on millionaires to pay for President Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill. Reid has hinted — and sources confirm — that he wants to replace the White House’s current proposals for paying for the bill with a packing that includes a 5 percent surtax on the nation’s highest earners.

And finally: Hank Williams, Jr. apologized yesterday for comparing President Obama to Hitler, which prompted ESPN to drop his opening from Monday night football. The country singer initially stood by his statement, but said yesterday, “I have always been very passionate about politics and sports and this time it got the best or worst of me.”

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