Small-town excitement

  Bucksport, Maine.

Bucksport, Maine.

"The Ecuadorian sailors arrive in Bucksport.

They stare at the American girls who stand

on the oil wharf in shorts and halters, eating

pistachio ice cream in the long Maine afternoons

as the sun drops behind the refinery....''

-- From "The Ecuadorian Sailors,'' by William Carpenter

A colorful guidebook -- and history -- about great New England houses and gardens


William (“Willit’’ ) Mason, M.D., has written has a delightful  – and very handy --  book rich with photos and colorful anecdotes,  called Guidebook to Historic Houses and Gardens in New England: 71 Sites from the Hudson Valley East (iUniverse, 240 pages. Paperback. $22.95). Oddly, given the cultural and historical richness of New England and the Hudson Valley, no one else has done a book quite like this before.

 The blurb on the back of the book neatly summarizes his story.

“When Willit Mason retired in the summer of 2015, he and his wife decided to celebrate with a grand tour of the Berkshires and the Hudson Valley of New York.

While they intended to enjoy the area’s natural beauty, they also wanted to visit the numerous historic estates and gardens that lie along the Hudson River and the hills of the Berkshires.

But Mason could not find a guidebook highlighting the region’s houses and gardens, including their geographic context, strengths, and weaknesses. He had no way of knowing if one location offered a terrific horticultural experience with less historical value or vice versa.

Mason wrote this comprehensive guide of 71 historic New England houses and gardens to provide an overview of each site. Organized by region, it makes it easy to see as many historic houses and gardens in a limited time.

Filled with family histories, information on the architectural development of properties and overviews of gardens and their surroundings, this is a must-have guide for any New England traveler.’’

Dr. Mason noted of his tours: “Each visit has captured me in different ways, whether it be the scenic views, architecture of the houses, gardens and landscape architecture or collections of art. As we have learned from Downton Abbey, every house has its own personal story. And most of the original owners of the houses I visited in preparing the book have made significant contributions to American history.’’

To order a book, please go to


A poet finds grace on the Maine Coast

   Cape Neddick Light  (circa 1920), in York, Maine, where May Sarton lived in her last years, after moving from Nelson, N.H.

Cape Neddick Light (circa 1920), in York, Maine, where May Sarton lived in her last years, after moving from Nelson, N.H.

"As I think about it today in my 81st year, looking out at the sea from my desk, I realize that what I have found in Maine is more than courtesy and kindness. It is grace.''

-- The late poet May Sarton, in "I Was on my Way Home Anyway,'' in the March 1994 Yankee magazine.

York is a well-known summer resort town, with 18-hole golf clubs, four sandy beaches and Mount Agamenticus, a remarkably high hill (692 feet) considering its proximity to the sea. There's lots of "old money'' there, perhaps best seen at the exclusive York Harbor Reading Room club.

  -- Photo by Fredlyfish    At the top of Mount Agamenticus, in York.       

-- Photo by Fredlyfish

At the top of Mount Agamenticus, in York.



  "York Harbor, Coast of Maine'' ( 1877),  by Martin Johnson Heade.

"York Harbor, Coast of Maine'' (1877), by Martin Johnson Heade.

Drive in peace


From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in

As least anecdotally, Rhode Island’s new law banning drivers from talking into cell phones they’re holding while driving seems to be starting to work. I think that a lot of drivers will grow to like the law because it will encourage quiet time and reflection and let them enjoy the ride much more. There’s a false urgency about most cell phone calls. The vast majority of calls can wait!

The addicts will, of course, continue to take the risk of a $100 fine. Their brain chemistry, as with some of those who spend their days looking at social media, has been permanently rejiggered. For some reason, people in SUV’s seem particularly prone to cell-phone addiction. They seem to especially like to talk on cell phones while turning. And some just can’t stop texting while driving either!

Then there’s our over-reliance on GPS for directions. Google Maps, et al., are sometimes wrong! Old-fashioned printed maps are often more reliable but too many people seem to have forgotten how to use them. But then so many people in the

Don Pesci: Democratic kooks consider court-packing


In “History’s Bad Ideas Are an Inspiration for Progressives,”  historian and columnist Victor Davis Hanson examines the dark side of progressivism.

Stymied by a Supreme Court that was a bit too traditionalist for his tastes – that is to say, a high court that faithfully interpreted the laws with reference to a real rather than a fictitious “living Constitution” --   President Franklin Roosevelt, Hanson notes, tried in 1937 to pack the court. His “convoluted proposal would have allowed Roosevelt to select a new—and additional justice—to the Supreme Court for every sitting judge who had reached 70 years, 6 months, and had not retired. And in theory, he could pack on 6 more judges, creating a 15-member court with a progressive majority.”

The effort to compromise the independence of the court by packing it with progressive judges failed ignominiously, in large part because the media of the day were constitutionally literate. Since then, the American media have declined. With the help of half-mad French philosophers, the American media have been convinced that any institution not born yesterday is hopelessly recherché. Texts, including the solid propositions of our founding documents, are to be wretched from their contexts and reformulated to satisfy the revolutionary ambitions of fake philosophers and politicians.

Faced today with a president considerably more conservative than his predecessor, the kook wing of the Democratic Party once again is considering court-packing. Donald Trump has nominated two Supreme Court justices viewed by progressive extremists as intolerably conservative. In fact, Neil Gorsuch, who has been approved, and Brett Kavanaugh, awaiting approval, are constitutional originalists in the manner of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Kavanaugh, Trump’s most recent nominee to the high court, is viewed by many court watchers as a libertarian in the manner of Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom he will replace on the bench. The libertarian Cato Institute perhaps put it best when it described Kennedy’s jurisprudence as “a constant struggle to balance freedom and responsibility—ordered liberty, if you will."

Noting that appointments in due course occasionally disappoint those who believe that justices selected by conservative or liberal presidents will continue to maintain a steady ideological path on the court, Hanson lists the three most noxious principles of progressive irredentism.

First, progressives believe that only conservative justices should flip, while liberal justices should maintain an inflexible progressive course. Second, any and all judicial means that advance progressive decisions, however much they violate man and nature’s God, must advance the public good. And lastly, progressives believe, with all the fervency of a doctrinaire extremist, that it is proper to view the court as an instrument of social justice, prodding representative bodies to the left by means of decisions that, strict constitutionalists would say, have only a nodding acquaintance with historical constitutional interpretation.

Hewing to this last principle, the progressive re-drafters of the constitution tip their hats to a Marxist formulation: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it,” said Karl Marx, words engraved as an epitaph on his tombstone. In much the same way, modern progressives hold that it is the business of progressives on the left to change laws made by representative assemblies through a radical, ahistorical re-interpretation of a shape-shifting Constitution.

Among progressives, nullification has become the new normal. Revisiting this socially disruptive idea can only bring down fire upon our heads. Jefferson Davis and other Southern secessionists embraced nullification until they were persuaded by President Abraham Lincoln’s generals to give it up, but not before the grounds of Shiloh and Gettysburg were soaked in blood. The operative principle of nullification is that the governor of a state, its lawmakers, or its municipal executives may nullify – declare inoperative -- federal laws at will and  expect the federal government to wink at governors and state legislators who counsel lawbreaking on occasion for purportedly good reasons. But consider that In an assembly of states that calls itself a union, the presence of a sanctuary city is an act of uncivil defiance bordering on insurrection.

Sanctuary state proponents such as  Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut are perfectly willing to accede to the proposition that the federal government does have the authority to make and enforce laws. Indeed, if Blumenthal were to contest this proposition, his office -- that of U.S. senator, which is constitutionally authorized to write laws to be executed by the executive department – would be rendered useless. In supporting sanctuary cities, Blumenthal is setting his face against both the executive department and  Congress of which he is a member. In effect, Blumenthal is saying that federal laws may be vacated by governors and mayors of the states if the law in question is perceived as unjust.

Once his principle of abrogation is generally accepted, any municipal executive with the concurrence of a governor may defy any law written by Blumenthal and affirmed by Congress. One needn’t wonder whether Blumenthal or Malloy would assert their destructive operative principle if a conservative state government were to defy what has been called “settled law” in Roe v Wade and outlaw all forms of abortion.

Don Pesci is a Vernon, Conn.-based columnist.


Jenny Silverstone: Six big benefits of music education

      A teacher   helps a young pupil conduct an ''orchestra'' during a music lesson at St Joseph's Elementary School, in Upper Norwood, England., in 1943. The boy is using drumsticks or xylophone beaters to conduct the rest of the class, who are playing tambourines, triangles and cymbals .


 A teacher   helps a young pupil conduct an ''orchestra'' during a music lesson at St Joseph's Elementary School, in Upper Norwood, England., in 1943. The boy is using drumsticks or xylophone beaters to conduct the rest of the class, who are playing tambourines, triangles and cymbals.

Via the New England Board of Higher Education (

Today, children of all ages experience rigorous career preparation as part of their education. School systems strive to implement mandated standards to help students excel in standardized testing and gain necessary skills for future job opportunities.

In this worthwhile pursuit, many creative school programs such as art and music are deemed unnecessary and cut from the curriculum.

What many schools do not realize, however, is that programs such as music education can have major positive impacts on growth and development.

In fact, these six benefits of music education not only show how music can benefit children now, but how it goes hand-in-hand with their preparation for future endeavors.

Enhanced language capabilities

Would you like your child to have larger vocabulary and enhanced reading comprehension skills? Studies show consistent music education improves both areas. How does it work?

Emerging evidence suggests the area of the brain controlling both musical ability and language comprehension are more related than previously thought. Music education requires students to recognize and repeat pitch, tone or enunciation of words.

Especially in young children, music directly benefits the ability to learn words, speak them correctly, and process the many new sounds they hear from others.

Improved memory

Music education involves a high level of memorization. Students must be able to read music by sight, play the proper notes on their instrument or recall lyrics. This process benefits the overall memory center of the brain.

In one study, musicians outperformed non-musicians in auditory, visual, and memory tests.

Music is also easily stored in our memory. Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? You can use music to help children remember things. Examples include using common tunes to memorize facts, playing meditative music during study time, and using music resources when presenting materials.

Strengthened hand-eye coordination

Playing a musical instrument has long been known to enhance dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

When playing an instrument, a musician must be able to create the correct notes through the proper hand motions, whether it be hitting keys, closing valves or using another apparatus to produce sound. In addition, the musician is also required to read the sheet music and follow the conductor.

This opportunity to grow motor skills is especially significant in younger children. Even a basic introduction to an instrument, such as a hitting a triangle or learning a song on a recorder, can be beneficial.

Powerful study habits

As children grow and are exposed to more rigorous courses of study, time spent reviewing and retaining is essential to success. More and more time in the classroom is spent on introducing new subjects and ideas, requiring students to work at home to ensure they have grasped onto the necessary information.

When children are exposed to proper music education, they learn powerful study habits. Mastering their specific musical craft takes a concerted effort, consistent practice and patience. These disciplined habits translate into other areas of study.


Music is often thought of as a way to foster individual expression. While it definitely is that, music can also teach teamwork. No place is this more evident or powerful than in schools.

Students work together to create a cohesive, technically correct performance. Together, they form a community of like-minded individuals who can help each other reach goals. Many students find a sense of belonging in school music programs.

Mental processing & problem-solving heightened

In the end, one of the most useful benefits of music education is the increased ability to process situations and find solutions mentally. Those with musical training have been found to have higher levels of grey matter volume in their brains, which are directly tied to auditory processing and comprehension.

Surprisingly, one of the areas of life this is most important for is forming relationships. Musicians learn to listen to others, sense emotion,and react with greater depth and understanding.

Music education for kids

Music education is an important aspect of providing children with a well-rounded education. When allowed to work in harmony with other subjects and areas of study, music helps children grow in self-esteem, build essential skills and prepare for bright futures.

Jenny Silverstone is the primary author of Mom Loves Best, a research-driven parenting blog that covers important topics such as education, child safety and healthy childhood development milestones.

  Berklee College of Music,  in Boston. It's the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world. 

Berklee College of Music,  in Boston. It's the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world. 




Was this heart-stopper invented in Maine or on The Cape?

gregory (1).jpg

“The National Doughnut Dunking Association has always credited the invention of its pet provender to a Maine sea captain named Hanson Gregory….{In 1847) objecting to the soggy center in his mother fried cakes, {the Rockport native} is said to have remarked, ‘Why don’t you cut a hole in the middle where it doesn’t cook?’ …But now a Cape Cod historian places the event earlier by a good two hundred years. It seems that one day back in the seventeenth century a Nauset Indian playfully shot an arrow through a fried cake his squaw was making. The squaw, frightened, dropped the perforated patty into a kettle of boiling grease – and the result was the doughnut.’’

-- From The Gold Cook Book (1970), by Louis P. De Gouy

  Rockport Harbor. In 2008, Forbes magazine named Rockport the prettiest town in America.

Rockport Harbor. In 2008, Forbes magazine named Rockport the prettiest town in America.

Subsidizing Republicans' religion racketeers

From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in

Republican Party leaders, now glued to right-wing evangelicals, often allege that Democrats, atheists and “globalists’’ are on a campaign to somehow persecute “Christians’’ (including devout ones such as Trump…) in America. You hear this a lot from rich con-men televangelists and “conservative’’ cable-TV and radio performers. But in fact, organized religion has a hell of a deal in this country; it’s one of our most protected groups and helps to concoct public policy.

Not only do politicians cynically feel that they must suck up to religious extremists, no matter how ignorant, as long as they call themselves “Christians,’’ but more importantly, churches, including those that effectively operate as adjuncts of the GOP, don’t pay taxes. The rest of us have to make up the money, whatever we think of their politics, which we in effect subsidize.

Hit this link to see where some of TV evangelist-GOP operative Pat Robertson's millions went. Lots of suckers out there!

Through a screen, eerily

  Photo from Peter C. Jones's show "Confluence,'' at KMR Arts, Washington Depot, Conn., through Sept. 8.

Photo from Peter C. Jones's show "Confluence,'' at KMR Arts, Washington Depot, Conn., through Sept. 8.

The gallery says:

"Peter C. Jones's photographs within 'Confluence' are an attempt to accurately depict life by the sea. Water is a source of calm, cleansing energy. This tranquil quality has long attracted people to the ocean’s shores. This affect is both spiritual and physical as the sounds, the smell and the image of the ocean convey a sense of peacefulness and balance. Human physiology is also deeply connected to the presence of water: it is the most abundant matter in the human body and the most abundant resource on the planet earth, necessary for survival.

''The images were made in a seaside cottage {in Little Compton, R.I.} that the artist and his wife rented every summer for many years. The sound of a screen door in the distance inspired the artist as he was searching for a way to convey the idea of summer. This led Jones to explore the transcendence of the sea through these photographs. As a counterpart to the constant transformation and movement of water, these photographs were made in the same location, from the same window, of the same ocean. Jones has intentionally avoided the depiction of rocks and whitecaps in order to highlight the simple elements of ocean, sky and screen.''

Washington Depot is in the Litchfield Hills, a mostly lovely southern extension of the Berkshires. Some of it looks rather like the English countryside.


  Lake McDonough, in the Litchfield Hills.

Lake McDonough, in the Litchfield Hills.




'Familiar as an old mistake'

  "The Worship of Mammon,'' by Evelyn de Morgan.

"The Worship of Mammon,'' by Evelyn de Morgan.


"Time was when his half million drew

    The breath of six per cent;

But soon the worm of what-was-not

    Fed hard on his content;

And something crumbled in his brain

    When his half million went.


Time passed, and filled along with his

    The place of many more;

Time came, and hardly one of us

    Had credence to restore,

From what appeared one day, the man

    Whom we had known before.


The broken voice, the withered neck,

    The coat worn out with care,

The cleanliness of indigence,

    The brilliance of despair,

The fond imponderable dreams

    Of affluence —all were there.


Poor Finzer, with his dreams and schemes,

    Fares hard now in the race,

With heart and eye that have a task

    When he looks in the face

Of one who might so easily

    Have been in Finzer's place.


He comes unfailing for the loan

    We give and then forget;

He comes, and probably for years

    Will he be coming yet —

Familiar as an old mistake,

    And futile as regret.''


-- "Bewick Finzer,'' by Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935), Maine's most famous poet and a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.


Llewellyn King: The triumph of ruthless uber-cynic Rupert Murdoch

  Rupert Murdoch.

Rupert Murdoch.


Liberals get apoplectic at the mention of the Koch brothers and, by the same token, conservatives gag at the mention of George Soros.

Yet, it can be argued, another rich man might have had a much larger effect on the politics of this century: Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch is the uber publisher and broadcaster of our time, and manipulator of public opinion. In Britain, he is courted by prime ministers and in the United States by politicians, left and right. Since the emergence of Fox News as the champion of the angry white voter, he has been the comfort and the looking glass of one Donald Trump.

Murdoch is a phenomenon. He is courageous, opportunistic and blessed with an unparalleled ability to divine the often-hidden aspirations of his readers and viewers.

He also does not care what people think. That may be his greatest strength. He does what he damn well pleases and his success at doing that is played out on the world stage. He has gained the social and cultural recognition of media supremacy but has not sought them.

He loves making newspapers, making television, making money and making trouble.

His British newspapers — more than half the people who read a newspaper in Britain read one owned by a Murdoch company — backed Britain’s seemingly suicidal vote to leave the European Union.

The tone of his anti-European ravings was summed up on Nov. 1, 1990, when Britain turned its back on European monetary union with the now famous front-page headline “Up Yours Delors!” in The Sun, Britain’s largest circulation daily newspaper. At the time, Jacques Delors was president of the European Commission.

The Sun was not content just with its headline: It advised all its readers to turn toward Europe and make an obscene gesture. Not exactly sophisticated reasoning, but good at getting the nationalistic sap up.

The same thing you can get on Fox day after day from Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Laura Ingraham, and the thin gruel of reason served up by the breakfast team. Gruel, it must be noted, that is nourishment and justification for President Trump.

I still marvel at what amounted to Murdoch’s conquest of British newspaper publishing. It was genius: He identified a right-wing, jingoistic streak in the British working-class male and he went for it with chauvinistic fury — and naked female breasts on Page 3. Murdoch’s legendary conservatism did not extend to women in front of the camera. If raunchy sold, raunchy it would be.

It paid off and enabled Murdoch later to take over the legendary Sunday Times and daily Times and to finance his American adventure, where something of the same formula applied to cable television has been diabolically effective.

Murdoch’s newspapers in Britain played a key role in the Brexit vote. It is less clear whether Fox played a role in Trump’s election, but it did not hurt. The trick in publishing or broadcasting to an ideological base, a conservative strategist once told me, is to keep the faithful, not to change minds. More troubling is the effect Fox has as an enabler for Trump’s more egregious actions, and his banal but damaging attacks on the media.

Fox floats the idea the mainstream media is a kind of monolithic, left-wing conspiracy and Trump amplifies it. Between Fox and Trump, they toss the mendacities back and forth until the authorship is lost. It is awesome to think mainstream can be turned into a pejorative just through repetition.

Murdoch is a conservative, except in journalistic vulgarity and when it is advantageous to go left, as he did in Britain when he backed Tony Blair and Labor in 1997. In New York, he cultivated the Clintons — maybe as insurance, maybe just as the entitlement to know power that goes along with his own power, or he may just have liked them.

Having been curious about Murdoch and his ways — and at times lost in admiration — since he figuratively invaded Britain in 1969 and seen the good and the bad that followed, I think he toys with politicians and is amused by his ability to influence events. Not much more and not much less.

There is a British expression for stirring things up: putting a bit of stick about. No one has put more stick about than Murdoch and he is not done. Tune in to Fox tonight and just see.

On Twitter: @llewellynking2

Llewellyn King ( is executive producer and host of White House Chronicle, on PBS. He’s  also a long-time columnist and international business consultant, now focusing on the energy sector. For many years he published Washington-based newsletters about the defense and energy sectors. Before then, he was an editor at newspapers in Britain and the United States. He's now based in Rhode Island.


Vermont and the sense of home

  Town hall in East Topsham, Vt.    -- Photo by Magicpiano

Town hall in East Topsham, Vt.

-- Photo by Magicpiano

“Home is the word that comes closest to explaining what has become known as the Vermont mystique, for it suggests a herbage of stability and security that is elsewhere at a premium in the rootlessness of the present day. The greater the complexity and anonymity of the urban and suburban sprawl, the more endearing the fundamental values of a natural backdrop.

That is the appeal of a state that has had the wisdom or good fortune or both to safeguard the trappings of its traditions, and of the rural past, the heartland of the American experience.’’

-- Historian Ralph Nading Hill, in an essay called “The Magic of East Corinth,’’ in Arthur Griffin’s New England: The Four Seasons

  Burke Mountain, in Vermont's "Northeast Kingdom''.

Burke Mountain, in Vermont's "Northeast Kingdom''.

Old N.E. money and the corruption behind it

  At Louisburg Square, on Boston's Beacon Hill, a center of old monied New England families.

At Louisburg Square, on Boston's Beacon Hill, a center of old monied New England families.

"{John} Cheever’s writing would reveal a keen sense of what his old New England family had lost. He lovingly bathed his prose in details such as the polished silver, the fragrant linen, the cocktails on the terrace and the sound of someone rolling the tennis court.  He set his stories in boarding schools, country clubs and summer cottages on the sea, and he peopled them with headmasters and shipyard executives, cooks and gardeners, lawyers and ladies who wouldn’t allow beer cans on the dinner table. Like F. Scott Fitzgerald, he romanticized wealth while exposing the corruption behind it.''

-- From the New England Historical Society

The right day

  Mt. Kearsage, in Wilmot, N.H.

Mt. Kearsage, in Wilmot, N.H.

"Now, when I hear she has died,

from the open door I look across at New Hampshire:

There, too, the sun is bright and clouds

make their shadowy ways along the horizon,

and it occurs to me? How could it not have been today?''

-- From "How Could She Not, for Jane Kenyon (1947-1995)'' by the late Galway Kinnell, a Vermont-based poet. He was writing about the poet Jane Kenyon, who lived with her husband,. Donald Hall, a former U.S. poet laureate and an  essayist, in Wilmot, N.H., near Mt. Kearsage. Hall died on June 23.



Pay them to occupy storefronts

  Typical New England Main Street, this one in Webster, Mass., an old factory town.

Typical New England Main Street, this one in Webster, Mass., an old factory town.

From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in

Far too many downtowns have been hollowed out first by big-box chain stores and their windswept parking lots on the edge of town and then by the Internet -- especially by the near-monopoly Amazon.

So some state legislators in Massachusetts, which has many once-thriving and now moribund, if still-pretty, downtowns,  seek to revitalize them with an economic-development bill that, reports The Boston Globe, “would provide up to $500,000 a year in tax credits to merchants who {decide to} occupy vacant storefronts in downtown areas. The promise of new jobs would help a retailer’s case, but it’s not required. Other factors could come into play: anticipated pedestrian traffic, synergy with nearby businesses, a commitment to improve the storefront, matching funds from a landlord or community.’’

This would have to be a long-term experiment but, depending on the total price tag, worth a try in a few places. The big question is whether you can lure consumers who  have grown addicted to the Internet back into  the habit of patronizing small stores, for their visual, tactile and social pleasures. This little initiative is as much about rebuilding a sense of community as it is about economic development.

Maybe Rhode Island should try this sort of experiment in, well,  Pawtucket – especially if the PawSox decide to become the WorSox.


James P. Freeman: Aided by the U.S., China's hybrid economy looks to continue to surge

As Americans escaped for burgers, barkers and beer over  the Fourth of July, they were not only celebrating the nation’s independence. Some well-informed ones might  also have been celebrating that the trade war with China had not arrived in their backyards before the fireworks finale. Surely, they are mindful that 99 percent of the fireworks they set off came directly from China.

Maybe President  Trump didn’t get the memo that imports of fireworks dwarfed exports by a ratio of more than 40 to 1. As NPR amusingly noted, this “exploding trade deficit” has not prompted the kind of protectionist crackdown that the president has directed at other industries. At least not yet.

As Trump lights his own bottle rocket of tariffs targeted at China (so far, 25 percent on $50 billion out of $636 billion in total exchange of goods), with threats he may use heavier artillery -- and with China countering, dollar for dollar -- it is particularly timely to revisit a recurring but relevant question: Can China’s economy continue to flourish moving forward with the hybrid (capitalistic/highly controlled) model that the government has implemented?

The answer is a resounding Yes!

Last March, Yukon Huang, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment, wrote in The New York Times that “China has never been a normal economy.” He believes that unbalanced growth is a sign of successful industrialization; surging debt is a marker of financial deepening, rather than profligate spending; and, perhaps surprisingly, corruption has spurred, not stalled growth. Future success, he allows, hinges “on whether the Chinese government can strike the right balance between state intervention and market forces.”  Huang also says China’s remarkable progress can be credited in part to its leaders’ willingness “to set aside communism for pragmatism.”

Cary Huang, writing for the South China Morning Post last fall, as the centennial of Lenin’s Russian Revolution quietly passed, says that China is now more a “Leninist capitalist state” than a “Marxist socialist one.” Even as China is among the most exploitative nations in the world, (income and wealth inequalities, lack of political and other freedoms), “it is all the more ridiculous to call an economy, the world’s second-largest, ‘socialist’ when 70 percent of it is privately owned, when it hosts the world’s largest army of billionaires, or when it grapples with issues such as a debt crisis, stock market woes and a real estate bubble,” argues Huang.

The creation and embrace of this hybrid capitalism -- state capitalism -- is not entirely new. However, China has fostered (and to a lesser extent Malaysia and Russia also have) the rise of what The Economist called in 2012 a new kind of “hybrid corporation.” It behaves like a private-sector multinational but is backed by the state.

These new economic and corporate alloys of conventional capitalism might confound certain world leaders (and perhaps distract the one with Twitter Tourette’s syndrome) but China’s leaders intend to continue policies that have reaped rewards.

As Americans look to the next quarter, the Chinese look to the next quarter century.

Earlier this year, China’s Communist party cleared the way for President Xi Jinping to rule for life. He has been president since 2012 but the move is seen as a means to consolidate his power and continue his successful policies (not to mention his predecessors'). Richard McGregor, senior fellow at the Lowry Institute, told The Financial Times this past February, “I don’t see any indication of a faster pace of what Westerners see as economic reforms and what Chinese see as tinkering with their hybrid economic model.”

China was the world’s largest economy  until it was displaced by Great Britain as the Industrial Revolution swept through Europe. China (aka the Middle Kingdom) then fell behind -- remaining agrarian and poor. But since economic reforms were implemented in 1978, China has roared backed. From that period until 2014, its annual GDP growth averaged 10 percent; now it’s closer to 6.8 percent (U.S. first-quarter annualized GDP growth was calculated at 2.2 percent). China has raised per capita GDP almost 49-fold, from 155 current U.S. oollars (in 1978) to 7,590 U.S. dollars (in 2014), lifting 800 million people out of poverty.

It is expected that in 10 to 20 years this demographic will become a massive middle class.

As China shifts emphasis from heavy industry toward health care, technology, education and entertainment to accommodate a consumer-oriented economy, (and self-reliance) it already is the world’s largest exporter, according to  17 percent of its goods and services head to the U.S., 15.9 percent to the European Union, 15.5 percent to Hong Kong and 6.4 percent to Japan. (As President Trump further agitates trade with North American, Asian and European allies, China will absolutely exploit such frictions.) China is expected to become the world’s largest economy once again by 2030.

With President Trump considering a military Space Force, the Chinese are wisely filling space on earth. In 2013 China launched the Belt and Road Initiative. Having underwritten $900 billion in loans already, China aims to modernize the infrastructure of the ancient Silk Road, linking Europe and Eurasia. With 71 countries participating -- from Poland to Pakistan -- it also promises to revive ex-Soviet states, according The Economist. And strategically important Turkey, where over 1,000 Chinese firms operate.

But America still factors into China’s long-term prosperity.  As long as America runs large debts (everything suggests that it will continue) China prospers. It owns $1.19 trillion, or nearly 20 percent, of U.S. debt held by foreign countries. Kimberly Amadeo wrote this past May in that this helps China’s growth by keeping its currency weaker than the dollar. This also keeps its products (hence exports) cheaper than U.S. goods. 

As America’s largest foreign creditor, China is able to exert more political and economic influence over America as it unwittingly finances China’s grand hybrid experimentations.

James P. Freeman, a former banker, is a New England-based writer. He is a former columnist with The Cape Cod Times and The New Boston Post.