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HONG KONG -- The masked men who recently tossed firebombs at Jimmy Lai's home targeted one of this city's foremost democracy advocates. Lai, a 71-year-old media billionaire, calls this summer's ongoing protest "a martyrdom movement" and "a last-straw movement." It has an intensity and dynamic that bewilders the protesters' opponents in Beijing and in Hong Kong's Beijing-obedient city administration.

WASHINGTON — Nestled on the Front Range of the Rockies, the city of Crystal was a largely upper-middle-class paradise, chock full of health-conscious and socially conscious — meaning, of course, impeccably progressive — Coloradans. Then in slithered a serpent in the form of a proposal for a new school, to be called "Crystal Academy," for "accelerated and exceptional learners." Suddenly it was paradise lost.

WASHINGTON — Airports are places of joy, someone said to me a number of months ago — which actually startled me. I was asking him about joy in the world, and “airports” was about the last thing I expected him to come back with. Sometimes when I’m in an airport, I’m overwhelmed by how transitory so many of us seem. And how casual we are about it.

WASHINGTON — One of the most persistent and pernicious myths in American politics is that immigrants should be excluded because they “steal” jobs from native-born Americans. President Trump has often embraced that falsehood, as he did during a campaign appearance in Phoenix: “They’re taking our jobs. They’re taking our manufacturing jobs. They’re taking our money. They’re killing us.”

WASHINGTON — So far, five Democratic presidential candidates — Kirsten Gillibrand, Eric Swalwell, John Hickenlooper, Seth Moulton and Jay Inslee — have dropped out of the 2020 race. What is amazing is that the number is only five, and that 20 Democrats are still running.

WASHINGTON — In a trade war, as in a real one, people are wounded by friendly fire from their side. Consider some casualties in Donald Trump's "easy to win" — his promise — trade war. Begin with the company whose green machines bear the name of the blacksmith who, in the 1830s in Grand Detour, Illinois, invented a self-scouring plow that could turn the Midwest's heavy black topsoil.

WASHINGTON — President Trump knows his re-election depends heavily on a healthy economy. At a recent New Hampshire rally, he warned supporters that markets would crash and their savings would go “down the tubes” if he failed to win a second term. “You have no choice but to vote for me,” he thundered.

WASHINGTON — Because of the investigation led by three University of South Florida researchers, and because of exemplary journalism by the Tampa Bay Times, we now have an intensely discomforting but welcome enrichment of American literature. It requires artistry to write beautifully about children suffering at the hands of evil men, and from the riveting first sentence of his slender new novel "The Nickel Boys" — "Even in death the boys were trouble" — Colson Whitehead's prose unfurls with controlled fury as he reimagines life at what was the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Mariann…

WASHINGTON — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his stunning acquiescence last week to President Trump's wish that Israel bar entry to two Democratic members of Congress, shows he has no qualms with interfering in U.S. politics.

WASHINGTON — There will be much to learn in Inspector General Michael Horowitz's upcoming report on the Trump-Russia investigation, but most of it will likely boil down to just two questions: One, how much did the Obama Justice Department spy on the Trump campaign? And two, was it justified?

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — It is difficult to discourage and impossible to manage Justin Amash because he, unusual among politicians, does not want much and wants nothing inordinately. He would like to win a sixth term as congressman from this culturally distinctive slice of the Midwest. He does not, however, want it enough to remain in today's Republican Party, which he has left because that neighborhood has become blighted. Amash, 39, a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, also has left that once-admirable faction because he does not define freedom as it now does, as devotion t…