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American manufacturing sinks further into recession one year before Trump’s reelection

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President Donald Trump is hoping to win his 2020 reelection campaign on the strength of the economy, but a key sector has slipped further into recession just one year away from the vote.

Business Insider reports that Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing index, which is seen as the gold standard for the measurement of the manufacturing economy, fell to 48.1 in November, a dip from the 48.3 mark that it posted in October.

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Any number below 50 in the ISM manufacturing index indicates that the manufacturing economy is in contraction. The number first dipped below 50 in September, which means that American manufacturing has been shrinking now for a full quarter.

Timothy R. Fiore, the chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, says that Trump’s trade war with multiple countries has significantly hurt the manufacturing sector, with little end in sight.

“Global trade remains the most significant cross-industry issue,” he explains. “Overall, sentiment this month is neutral regarding near-term growth.”

And Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, tells Business Insider that there’s little hope of a rebound as long as the president keeps slapping tariffs on foreign countries like he did with Brazil and Argentina on Monday.

“We doubt the gap will close anytime soon, absent a resolution to the trade war,” he says.

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Donald Trumps needs a coronavirus scapegoat — and right now it’s China

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"If we are at war, who is the enemy?" asks Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for The Washington Post in a smart piece that examines the question of who constitutes a target for a self-declared "wartime president."

While it is obvious that the enemy, in this case, is a tiny, sticky, invisible microbe that stubbornly gloms onto surfaces or leaps through the air to weaponize subway cars or shared gym equipment or a touch to the face.

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Some Trump supporters ‘delight’ in defying pandemic protocols to stick it to liberals: report

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A new report from The Atlantic's McKay Coppins reveals that some conservative Trump supporters are intentionally defying recommended social distancing protocols as a way to stick it to their political foes.

In his article, Coppins interviews Georgia resident Geoff Frost, who says that older conservatives who play at his local country club have made a habit of blowing off recommendations against shaking hands and sharing golf carts during the worst public health crisis the United States has faced in decades.

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Alternet 2020

Pandemic modelers warn that Trump’s lies may increase the spread of COVID-19

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Epidemiologists model how an infectious disease outbreak may spread within and between communities. The computer models are based on research into past epidemics, the virulence of a pathogen,the  severity of the illness it causes and various other factors. But these scientists assume that leaders will offer a coherent response to the crisis, and that people will modify their behavior appropriately. Trump, the conservative press and the Republican base are upending those assumptions.

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