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July 17, 2019

Netflix stock fell more than 10 percent after the market closed Wednesday, following the company's announcement that for the first time since launching its digital service eight years ago, it saw a drop in U.S. subscribers.

In the second quarter, Netflix lost 126,000 paid U.S. subscribers, and also only added 2.7 million subscribers worldwide, far below the five million investors expected. With its hit show Stranger Things now streaming new episodes, Netflix expects to add more than seven million subscribers during the current quarter. Right now, there are more than 60 million U.S. subscribers.

The market is getting more and more crowded, with Disney Plus and HBO Max set to enter the streaming world soon. In 2020, Friends, the second-most watched show on Netflix last year, will only be available to U.S. and Canadian customers on HBO Max. The Office is also leaving Netflix next year, as the show's owner, NBCUniversal, agreed to pay $100 million a year for the next five years in order to have streaming rights. Catherine Garcia

8:01 a.m.

Journalist Mark Halperin was able to land more than 75 interviews with Democratic strategists for a new book, and the women who accused him of sexual misconduct aren't happy.

Halperin, who was fired from NBC News in 2017 after numerous women accused him of sexual harassment or assault while he worked at ABC News, had landed a deal with Regan Arts to publish a book titled How to Beat Trump: America's Top Political Strategists on What It Will Take, Politico reports. For the project, Halperin reportedly spoke with more than 75 Democratic strategists, including President Obama's former senior adviser David Axelrod and former Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile.

Now Regan Arts and the Democrats who participated in the book are under fire, including from Halperin's accusers. "The fact that so many people spoke to him sets the whole #MeToo movement back," Eleanor McManus, who sought out Halperin for career advice but claims he sexually harassed her during their meeting, told CNN. "And it shows they are enabling him and re-traumatizing the victims." McManus told CNN that Halperin has never apologized to her.

Another one of Halperin's accusers, Dianna Goldberg May, told The Washington Post that those who are "supporting Mark by speaking with him are on the wrong side of history."

Axelrod on Twitter said he "did not in any way mean to excuse [Halperin's] past, egregious behavior and, in retrospect, I regret responding at all." But other Democrats defended their participation, with Brazile telling The Daily Beast that "we are still angry at" Halperin but that "I wanted to go on the record with my answers about how to defeat Trump." Amanda Renteria, Hillary Clinton's former political director, also told the Beast that "women and people of color are worse off when our voices and experiences are left out of campaign histories like this."

Halperin in 2017 apologized for "aggressive and crude" behavior but denied allegations of assault. Brendan Morrow

7:12 a.m.

U.S. unemployment is still near record lows and consumer spending is strong, but there are a mounting signs that the long U.S. economic expansion is coming to an end. Along with slowing growth in other major economies and the brief flash of an inverted yield curve last week, The Wall Street Journal and the Indianapolis Star highlight another economic bellwether pointing toward recession: The flagging recreational-vehicle industry in Elkhart County, Indiana, the "RV Capital of the World."

"Economists like to use the RV industry, which dominates the manufacturing city on the very northern edge of Indiana, as a barometer for the health of the U.S. economy," the Star reports. "And the news coming out of Elkhart is giving some plenty of reason to be worried." Local economists largely blame President Trump's trade war with China.

Trump and his top economic advisers dismissed such concerns on Sunday, going on TV to insist that there's no recession looming, the U.S. economy is strong, China is paying for the tariffs, and if there is a slowdown, it's the Federal Reserve's fault.

Trump, privately "agitated in discussions of the economy," has publicly "unleashed what is by now a familiar response: lashing out at what he believes is a conspiracy of forces arrayed against him," Maggie Haberman writes at The New York Times. "He has insisted that his own handpicked Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, is intentionally acting against him. He has said other countries, including allies, are working to hurt American economic interests. And he has accused the news media of trying to create a recession" by "overstating the damage his trade war has caused."

Aides tell the Times that "Trump understands that presidents face harder re-election battles in a bad economy." But "the economy may be more important for Trump than it is for other presidents," writes CNN's Stephen Collinson, "given that its current health is one of the few policy areas where polls show he has majority support." Peter Weber

5:04 a.m.

A 64 percent majority of U.S. adults agreed that free trade is good for America in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Sunday, while only 27 percent said free trade is bad, harming manufacturing and other industries. Support for free trade is up 7 points from WSJ/NBC polling in 2017 and a 13-point jump from 2015, thanks largely to increased support from Democrats and independents. This is the highest number in favor of free trade in WSJ/NBC News polling on the question.

Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, which conducted the poll with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, blamed Trump's trade wars with China and other nations. "While Trump plays a game of chicken on tariffs, a record number of Americans believe that free trade is good," he noted. McInturff pointed to the growing support among Democrats: "If Donald Trump is for it and you're a Democrat, you move in a very different direction."

On Sunday's Meet the Press, Chuck Todd said "Democrats reflexively opposing anything this president does" is one factor in the opinion shift "from a 10-point spread to a 40-point spread," but "some of it also reflects voter anxiety about the president's trade policies."

The WSJ/NBC poll, conducted via phone Aug. 10-14 among 1,000 adults, has an overall margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points. Peter Weber

4:12 a.m.

"If you're a woman and/or a person of color in the U.S., you may well have a very different relationship to our health care system than a white man," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "So frankly, who better to talk at you for 20 minutes about this than me, the whitest of white men?"

"Tonight, let's talk about bias in medicine in two specific areas: first sex, and then race," Oliver said. "And in the words of every therapist I've ever had, let's start with sex." He did, focusing on why some doctors have "woman-shaped blind spots" and how "the consequence can be deadly," like with heart attacks. "And now, if I may quote the inside of Donald Trump's head when energy at one of his rallies seems to be flagging, let's get to the racism stuff," he said. "Because there is a huge disparity in life expectancy between black and white Americans, particularly for black men."

But "there's perhaps no starker expression of where sex and race can negatively impact health care outcomes than maternal mortality," Oliver said. "Currently, the United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world — which is already terrible. But it gets even worse for black women," whose odds of dying in childbirth are three to four times higher, largely because doctors believe black women less when they express concerns about symptoms, especially pain. "These racial disparities exist even when you control for socioeconomic factors like education or insurance status," he said. "We are literally disbelieving black women to death."

At this point, Oliver finally stepped aside and let Wanda Sykes offer some solutions, including her fallback plan, "bring a white man" to repeat your complaints to the doctors — and if you don't have one, she has a loaner "who loves complaining to doctors." You can access Larry David's women's complaints at WhatsLarrysProblem.com, and you can watch the occasionally NSFW video below. Peter Weber

2:50 a.m.

"If you had asked me, say, five years ago, if there was a likelihood that Donald Trump, as U.S. president, would be quoted in an anti-democracy hip hop tune promoted by the People's Daily newspaper on social media," tweeted Bloomberg News Hong Kong correspondent Iain Marlow on Monday, "I probably would have said no and felt pretty confident." But, well, here were are.

The song juxtaposes video of President Trump saying Hong Kong is an internal Chinese matter with tweets from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supporting the rights of Hong Kong's citizens to their promised limited autonomy: "Mrs. Clinton, you know nothing about Chinese citizens. Now I've got some words from your president." Generally, the officially promoted song claims that Hong Kong's massive pro-democracy protests are a plot by "somebody" to "split Hong Kong from us" by starting "a riot," adding in Chinese that the Chinese "will always protect Hong Kong without any hesitation, airplanes, tanks, and the Chinese People's Liberation Army."

The rappers, Roy & Chuckie, should probably listen to some NWA. Peter Weber

2:14 a.m.

Iceland held a funeral Sunday for its first glacier lost to climate change. About 100 people hiked two hours to the top of a volcano for the ceremony, marked with poetry, moments of silence, and a plaque bearing a note for future humans. Icelandic geologist Oddur Sigurðsson, who actually pronounced the Okjokull glacier dead about a decade ago, formalized the extinction on Sunday, warning that Iceland won't have any more masses of ice in 200 years. Okjokull — now just Ok, without the Icelandic word for glacier — used to cover six square miles.

"We see the consequences of the climate crisis," Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said. "We have no time to lose." Former Irish president Mary Robinson agreed: "The symbolic death of a glacier is a warning to us, and we need action." The plaque the mourners installed reads: "This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it."

Not all glaciers die so peacefully, though, and Iceland isn't the only area affected. Saturday's NBC Nightly News showed some dramatic footage of Alaska's Spencer Glacier in its apparent death throes. Watch that below. Peter Weber

1:31 a.m.

There has been a push for stronger gun laws after back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, and if anything is going to happen before the 2020 election, "it's September or bust," a source involved in discussion between the White House and Congress tells Axios. "We'll either have everything ready for when Congress returns, drop it on the floor, vote on it, and move on — or we blow it." White House and Capitol Hill officials tell Axios that Trump genuinely wants to expand background checks, but Trump was noncommittal when talking to reporters on Sunday.

"I don't want people to forget that this is a mental health problem," Trump said when asked about expanding background checks to all gun purchases and trades — an idea supported by 89 percent of U.S. adults in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll and 90 percent of voters in a recent Fox News poll. "Congress is working on various things, and I'll be looking at it. We're very much involved." Mental health experts are adamant that mental illness isn't a significant factor in mass shootings.

When a reporter asked, "Would you support banning high-capacity magazines?" Trump also hedged. "Well, we're going to look at a whole list of things, and I'll make a determination then," he said. "A lot of things are happening on the gun level." And then he shifted to the closure of mental institutions decades ago, adding: "Unrelated to that, I believe that the concept also of voter identification has to be looked at."

"Sir, what does that have to do with guns?" a reporter asked Trump.

If you wanted an answer to that, well, sorry. Trump pivoted again, to how golf "is so unimportant to me." Peter Weber

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