Saturday, July 27, 2019

Election Interference is serious problem

One thing that came out of the Mueller Report was that the Russians were very active at trying to effect the outcome of the American election.  At the top there is denial which may in part be due to an over sensitive ego.  Others are happy with the result.  Some of us aren't happy with the results and perhaps we can be accused of seeking an excuse for our poor performance or predictions.

Is this healthy?  As a possible excuse seeker, my opinion might be suspect, but I ask that even those happy with the results take a longer view.

The Russians have a history of interfering in elections (for that matter so does the U.S.)  They are supposed to have interfered in the Brexit election and in Ukraine.  Even if some in the U.S. are happy, perhaps they should consider the motivations of the Russians.  Do they really worry about abortions or gay rights or immigration?  Perhaps, but more obviously they are interested in relieving sanctions, freedom to pursue their goals, particularly with what they consider their sphere of influence. Perhaps Putin has his own sensitivities and was offended by Hilary Clinton who bluntly criticized him.

The point is Russia had goals that were not necessarily in the best interest of Americans.  Russia appears to want to upset alliances such as NATO and the EU. Trump played a small role in these efforts.

But Russia is only one country and there are many with capabilities of interfering and some of them might be interested in upsetting Trump or the Republicans.  China and Iran have conflicts.  Other nations would have different goals such as North Korea, Israel and Saudi Arabia.  Many other nations might feel they have vested interests that need to be steered.

With the U.S. political system sometimes offering a party to gain power with minority support the losers can be resistant to the results.  When there is any suspicion that the election itself was unfair there is always danger of rebellion in one form or another.

Personally I would like to add that any party that actually needed foreign help to win might not have the best interest of their voters in mind.  For instance the recent tax cut benefited the wealthiest the most in absolute dollars, but more importantly is already generating an increased deficit.  De-regulations that enable greater profit for business also remove financial and environmental protections that will do great harm over a period of time.  Budget cuts for education and health care can not only hurt individuals, but are bad for society.

Solutions are known, but the political will of the American Senate is suspect.   Some senators such as Mitch McConnell have a vested interest in the status quo.

Any time the will of the people is thwarted it hurts.  Even if it happens in another country.  In addition we need to be concerned that the will of the people is subject to manipulation.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

THE MUELLER REPORT AND THE AMERICAN VOTER

The American voter is making me feel naive.  It is hard to understand how they could support a man who lies, who brags, who displays ignorance, who denigrates in every direction and in my opinion has policies that hurt almost everyone.  The best explanation seems to be that the Republicans and Mr Trump have consolidated a lot of one issue voters who do not analyze much beyond that one issue.

The 1% and those aspiring to it are focused on economic issues such as lower tax rates and de-regulation.  Both of these issues if they had their way are very likely to hurt everyone else.  They understand this as well as anyone.  To maintain their status they have to offer something in order to gain control.  The spin doctors have developed at least three categories that are reinforced by a few superficial issues.  The main categories are gun rights, bigotry and abortion.  There is a natural overlapping, but for many they are focused on their one issue. The Republicans have added in patriotism reflected in superficial aspects such as respect for the flag and other symbols and more critically military power.

Gun rights are supposedly based on the second amendment, but in truth it can be interpreted quite differently than the NRA has chosen.  Aside from constitutional justification (some might say twisting) they rely on fear.  Fear feeds on bigotry.  The reality is that Americans have put themselves in great danger from accidents, suicides, impulsive responses, abusive power that in fact they have a scary rate of deaths by guns.  Gun rights garner so much emotional support that its advocates are not swayed by policies on other issues.

Bigotry is really just prejudice taken to more extremes.  We all make pre-judgments as part of our heredity.  We do not readily understand the other.  We tend to congregate around those we feel most comfortable with.  Demographic trends  are that the establishment white race is losing power.  Traditionally older straight white males have had the most power and they can see that power is diminishing.  We live in a global society whether we leave our neighborhood or not.  Former colonies are asserting their rights.  Women, homosexuals, ethnic minorities and even youth are much more assertive and disrespectful.  When jobs are hard to come by it is easy to blame the "others."  We are stronger as a group when everyone gets an equal chance to contribute. Bigotry is very often counter-productive--check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/06/dying-of-whiteness.html

Abortion is very emotional.  Life is sacred and abortion is literally murder.  But we have to acknowledge that when faced with an unwanted pregnancy people (men as well as women) it is seen as a life threatening situation.  If legal abortion is not available many (including conservatives and even Christians) would seek illegal abortions, even crude versions.  Women die, other lives are "ruined."  One study demonstrated that a significant reason for a decline in crime rates was that after abortion was legalized fewer potential criminals were born, i.e. for the most part those born in poverty and dysfunctional parenting.

One obvious solution is sex education coupled with easier access to contraception.   Also make parenting easier with supportive economic policies and more tolerance.  It seems that many of those opposed to abortion are also concerned about promiscuity and thus are also against anything that enables more sex.  Some feel the only justification for sex is procreation.  Many feel promiscuity must be punished (stated by Trump himself) and frown on those who are guilty.  In reality promiscuity is often harmful to both individuals and society, but sex is also perhaps the most effective bonding agent which can lead to strong family relations.

How does all this relate to Mueller's report?  America is polarized.  Outside political realities people are unique, but the political structure Americans live in force most of them into one of two parties.  Sure other parties do receive votes, but if you are really determined to affect the outcome it is logical to choose one or the other party.

What I believe has happened is that government has developed to be very complicated and very distant that few really analyze the choice.  Loyalties among relatives and friends are common and social pressures to stick with the team are underlying.  Big money and ever developing modern technology are used to manipulate us.   Check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2016/07/dark-money-by-jane-mayer.html

What that boils down to is most Americans are committed to one of the parties and do not pay much attention to the other party except to find criticism.

I guess the slick lawyers would say the case against Donald Trump is circumstantial at best and likely rigged by the Deep State.  But when circumstances were being attributed to the Democrats facts were twisted and spun and I must admit seemed extremely false.  The Benghazi attack was a very unfortunate occurance, but not particularly unexpected.  A dangerous place in which those directly involved realized was risky.  The Obama administration had its role by opting to get involved in Libyan rebellion, but Republicans were very quick to attack and tenacious when they felt they could spin it into something evil.

What is visible to anyone who read the report or even just followed the news from a reliable source is the evidence casts strong suspicions.  Multiple contacts between Trump's team and the Russians tied to actual policies and public statements.  Trump rejected government intelligence resources in favor of Putin.  Trump made many public obstruction efforts which by themselves would indicate he is hiding something.  He is the first presidential candidate to refuse to reveal his tax returns.  On top of all that the Mueller report is obviously reminding us of the many instances of obstruction and contact that Russians made determined and systematic efforts to turn the election to Trump's favor.  One must wonder why and note that Russia has indeed attained some of its goals.

A good hunk of Trump's supporters are indifferent or even adamant the whole process is rigged against a man who has done commendable things they feel are worth whatever it took.

The commendable things include a very harsh campaign against desperate refugees both from south of their border and from the Mid East.  De-regulating has progressed, but without too close a look in fact are removing financial and environmental protections for everyone.  Budget cuts to education and health care stand to have long term disastrous results.  Withdrawing from the Paris and Iran Nuclear agreements are having potentially catastrophic results.  Bending the Supreme Court and lower courts to conservative (Trumpian) outcomes which will drag on for decades with likely unhealthy consequences.  To top all that off, security measures to protect their election integrity are being sidelined.

To me an underlying problem is inequality.  It has always been that those who have power are able to set the rules and build increasing wealth and power.  The only thing that breaks this trend is a revolution.  Revolutions are stigmatized by those in power and for most of us they are frightening because they upset our comfortable status quo.

The wealthy and powerful are able to draw in enough of the masses to defend the status quo sometimes, as now by diverting attention from the real problems.  In a recent blog about "Amusing ourselves to death" it was assumed we are headed for a dystopia, but that there are two contrasting versions of the vehicle.  "1984" represents a harsh path with censorship, a police state, etc.  "Brave New World" by contrast suggests the path may involve pleasurable things (diversions) like drugs and sex.  One can see both trends. check out http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2018/05/amusing-ourselves-to-death.html

On one hand we can see censorship and police state trends globally.  On the other hand the world seems relatively sexually liberated and literally millions even perhaps billions are using drugs to deal with life's unfairness.  Entertainment permeates our lives, even to imbibing news.  In education one can see trends towards money making while the arts and philosophy take a back seat.

What can be done?  The Democrats are at present opting for a slow walk feeling they can win big in the next election.  The Republicans are using their resources to stomp down on the truth and divert attention.  The Democrat presidential candidates smelling an opportunity are bringing up policies that appeal to progressives, but scare many moderates.  One can imagine the Republicans will welcome a top heavy progressive Democrat candidate, yet the Democrats seem to want to outdo one another.

The testimony did in fact reinforce a lot of damning evidence that may overcome the Republican attacks and Trump's vociferous claims of vindication.  There are also several ongoing investigations that may prove to be more damaging, but time can also diminish their impact.  The Democrats need to voice the evidence more loudly.  The Republicans were continually rebuffed on their Benghazi attacks, but continued and it probably was a factor in Hilary Clinton's defeat.  We can be certain the Republican spin machine will be loud and over whelming.

Naomi Klein noted that progressives have many separate causes, but they are not united as the Republicans are.  Some deep thinking needs to be done.  For example Naomi points out the alliance between native groups and environmentalists have given each more power towards their goals.  Many groups are devoted to overcoming discrimination against homosexuals, females, the disabled, racial and religious entities.  Climate change has energized many activists.  Others are trying to use gun controls to make a safer country.  Still others are concerned about inequality.  There is a little overlap in these concerns, but if each group realizes they have more power working together great things can be accomplished.  Compromises will need to be made, but respecting the concerns of other people can enable a much better result.  The sooner these compatible causes work together the sooner they can assert themselves.  Check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2018/05/naomi-klein-writes-another-insightful.html

As many of you know I am Canadian and we have our share of problems, but we have more than two parties and the "extra" parties do have some power, so we have more choices.  I also believe proportional voting would give even more choices that would give better government.  As Canadians we are small and we know it--what happens in United States has a profound effect on us. What are you going to do about it?

JOHN FORD

John Ford is considered by many to have been one of the best directors America has ever produced.  One such claim came from Orson Welles.  Born in 1894 in Maine as John Feeney he followed an older brother who had changed his name to Francis Ford, to Hollywood.  Francis had taken the plunge into acting eventually taking part in close to 500 films and also doing some directing.  John, now Jack Ford started as an actor, but in 1923 deciding to be a director changed his name to John Ford.

One of his attractive qualities was his ability to tell a compelling story.  He was fond of a number of actors that he felt comfortable with allowing him to shoot scenes with only one or two takes.  Preparation was key. He once said "never let them talk unless they have something to say."

He was noted to have spoken French, German, Gaelic and even Chinese in the course of his work.  

As he was best known for westerns where Indians were usually portrayed  as the antagonists, there was curiosity as to what he really thought of the Indians.  One quote dug up, "We've treated them badly, it's a blot on our shield.  we've robbed, cheated, murdered and massacred them, but if they kill one white man and God out come the troops."  Mostly Indians were stereo typed in his films.

Just watched one interview in which he appeared arrogant while at the same time self-deprecating--he said he only did movies for the money. 

His first success was "The Iron Horse" in 1924.  The subject was a trans continental railroad that had been authorized by Abraham Lincoln.  This film represented at the time the greatest migration from Hollywood for an  location.  Location was preferred by John and he spent a lot of time trying to get the right one.  There were thousands of extras, including many Chinese who had been some of the workers on the railroad.  Ford depicted a cattle drive and battle scenes that were realistic..  The plot revolved around a short cut that would cut time and expense, but not desired by other financial interests.

Did 3 films with Will Rogers, one of America's favorite humourist.  In 1933 Ford directed "Doctor Bull," in 1934 directed "Judge Priest" and 1935 directed "Steamboat Round the Bend."

In 1931 he won his first Oscar for "The Informer"  a psychological drama starring Victor McLagen who won the best actor Oscar.  With a limited budged Ford used cinematography to enhance psychological tension.

"Drums along the Mohawk"  (1939) was Ford's only film regarding the American Revolution and it focuses on upstate New York.  Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert play a young married couple and the viewer watches how they change over the course of about two years during the early Revolution.  We see the conflicts between the Americans and the Tories supported by Indians from Six Nations that were eventually brought to Canada less than an hour from where I live.  In the movie they are depicted as cruel savages who are sedated by the end leaving out that they were victimized by a scorched earth policy.

"Mary of Scotland" (1936) was an early movie for Katherine Hepburn.  Lots of bagpipes and drums to heighten tension for battles  Fredric March also starred.

"Wee Willie Winkie" (1937) with Shirley Temple and Victor McLagen.

"Young Mr. Lincoln" (1939) showed the character building days of Lincoln.  Ford talked Henry Fonda into role.  Highlights an early criminal trial that helped establish Lincoln's reputation.

"Stagecoach" (1939) was his first film with John Wayne.   It won two Oscars (for music and Thomas Michell as best supporting actor.  The movie itself and Ford were nominated. A more realistic western that helped solidify Ford's reputation in that genre.








"The Grapes of Wrath" (1940) based on the John Steinbeck novel was a social protest.   Ford won an Oscar as did supporting actress Jane Darnell.  Five other nominations including for Henry Fonda and for best picture. 

"How Green was My Valley" (1941)  with Maureen O'Hara and Walter Pidgeon.  Filmed in California to look like Wales.

"The Battle of Midway" (1942) won an Oscar  18 minute--endangered just like sailors and airmen.  Did 7? one of which was used in Nuremberg Trials.   Propaganda

In World War II he enlisted and was assigned to make documentary films.  He was awarded an Oscar for a short and another for documentary.  Interesting one of his documentaries, "Nazi Concentation and Prison Camps" was submitted as evidence in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

"Pinky" (1949) not credited with director, but did assist Elia Kazan--racially sensitive--Oscar nominations

"The Quiet Man" (1952) was an obsession of Ford's, but no one was willing to help finance it--Maureen O'Hara was on board--a deal was finally made that Ford would direct some profitable westerns to justify the expense.  The last of three three westerns, "Rio Grande" (1950) brought Maureen together with John Wayne which worked out very well.  The film won two Oscars, one for John Ford and one for cinematographer Winton C. Hoch who also won Oscars for two other films directed by John Ford.  "The Quiet Man"  not only did well with awards, but also did much better at the box office than expected.

From Rio Grande (1950 )I was able to see some special feature.   A man who filmed so many westerns must have thoughts on horses and riders.  For Rio Grande he decided a demonstration of Roman riding- (standing on two horses in motion).  Ben Johnson had been a stunt man who happened to rescue some actors and was promoted to an acting role as a reward and became Ford'smost reliable rider

"Wagon Master" (1950) with Ben Johnson and some other familiar Ford actors, Jane Darwell, Harry Carey Jr. and his  brother Francis Ford.  James Arness who later made it big with "Gunsmoke,"  a tv show I watched with my father.

"The Long Gray Line"  (1955) more comedy, but set at West Point   Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara.  Ford received an Oscar nomination.

"The Horse Soldiers" (1959) was another John Wayne vehicle with William Holden. and old time silent star Hoot Gibson.  Another Oscar nomination for Ford.

"The Man who Shot Liberty Valance"(1962)  with John Wayne, James Stewart, Vera Miles and Lee Marvin.  A few familiar faces with Andy Devine and John Carradine.  The only one of all these movies and a rarity for all my blogs that I actually saw at a movie theatre.  Must have been 14 and using my paper route earnings.

Movies are just a way of telling stories and John Ford provided a stream of enjoyable movies.   He was rewarded with 4 Oscars, the most for any director to date.

John died in California in 1993.  The only one to win 4 Oscars as a director.


Saturday, July 20, 2019

RACISM--WE ARE ALL GUILTY

Prejudice simply means pre-judging.  We all note differences including non visible differences.  It is in our genes to make a quick assessment, otherwise we might be killed or raped or possibly helped.  We fear what we don't understand as the world is a dangerous place.  We feel safest and most comfortable among people most like ourselves.

In another blog I learned that the wisest people withhold judgment until they get more facts.    http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2016/10/the-wisest-one-in-room.html  But in order to survive a quick, even instantaneous decision is often required.  If we are wrong we could be dead.  However better decisions are more likely when one has more time.  It is normal for first impressions to stick until counter evidence is over whelming.   Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, "I don't like that man, I must get to know him better."  The first question after encountering something new should be "Why might my initial impression be wrong?"

We are each unique and capable of contributing to our society given a chance.  Society benefits when everyone is given that chance.  A chance actually starts before birth.  Are our parents treated fairly?  Stress and nutrition are factors while we are still in the womb.  After birth are we given an equal opportunity to learn including avoidance of unhealthy distractions?  Are decisions concerning our future made based on merit?  We likely will never achieve perfection, but should always push towards the goal.

Of course some of us are quicker to recognize opportunity and some realize preparation is critical.  As a collective we do not always realize we all benefit when choices are based on reason and not prejudice (or bias).  We need to respect and encourage individuals who can lead us to a better world but that includes everyone.

Politicians gain power by appealing to emotions.  They use that power to stay in power and expand conntrol.  Republicans have long known that the average American would not support their economic agenda and the only way to achieve power is to appeal to emotions by tying a social agenda. Donald Trump did a masterful job of projecting fear and assigning blame.  His simple solutions hurt many people and are counter productive but appeal to enough people to allow him to indulge in his own personal agenda (which nobody really understands).  Racism has proved to be very effective.

Lyndon Johnson once said, "If you can convince the lowest of white men he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket."  It is so frustrating for those who understand the economic agenda of the Republicans to see those who are getting hurt the most base their vote on social issues and non policy factors. 

When there are problems people look for simple solutions.  We live in a complicated world.  Automation is diminishing the need for manual labour and increasingly so for brain work.  The world is so connected that powerful people can more easily find the weak spots to exploit. We are reaching the limits of what the planet can provide.  Powerful people are in conflict.  There are no simple solutions to most of the serious problems and we need to resist those who offer them.

Ignorance is inescapable.  Education means learning and scraping away a portion of ignorance.  Intelligent people realize they can never know everything.  Education is not just an economic opportunity to be exploited, but critical tools we all need for a fulfilling life.

Homo Sapiens originated in Africa.  Skin was black to protect against the sun--when men moved to cooler climates with less sunlight they needed less melanin and gained advantages of Vitamin D.  In due time  there were many superficial changes in humans while the core remained the same.

What do "others" offer us?  A different perspective.  Uniqueness.  Potential.  Why do we close doors?  Familiarity fosters understanding, but true equality will go forward in uneven steps.  Education is only part of the solution, but a necessary part with many possible approaches.  Racism is an obstacle we all need to overcome if we are to solve the most critical of problems.

An earlier blog with another angle on another side of the refugee crisis with racial implications:   http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2018/01/the-brain-drain-fromshithole-countries.html    

A recent blog that discusses how racism actually costs lives:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/06/dying-of-whiteness.html

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Future is Asian

Everyone tends to think they live in the centre of the world.  Western intellectuals see a world that revolves around their view, but Parag Khanna points out that Asia has been re-asserting itself for several years and now represents the future.  Asia is defined more widely than most of us concede.  According to Parag Khanna it extends from Turkey (includes much of Russia) through the Middle East (termed the Far West by Asians) and goes all the way to Australia and New Zealand (those two bastions of Western democracy).

Napoleon is supposed to have said about China, "let her sleep for when she wakes she will shake the world."  It is our turn to wake up to figure out how best to fit in a new world order.

Many western countries are counting on breaking into the Asian market not only to grow, but in some cases to survive.  They will have to adjust.  For instance McDonald's has done well, but a look at their menus will demonstrate they have emphasized local preferences.  

Asians now hold more than 55% of U.S. treasuries.  They have felt it was a safe place to keep excess money, but are already finding alternatives. 

Asian consumers, especially the younger generation are not as enamored of Western brands as their parents once were.  They are finding good value with Asian products.  At the same time Americans are buying more Asian goods and in many cases Asian manufacturers are setting up plants in North America.   It is no longer just cheap labour that gives Asians an edge, but professionalism.

There are actually 53 nations in Asia and they are beginning to communicate with one another. Although there is great diversity in Asia they are learning when they work together they are stronger.

Mobile banking is new, but Asians have adopted it quicker than Americans and Europeans partly because they have not been as entrenched in established banking practices.

Asians were attracted to Europe and North America for education and many of them used to find jobs in the host country.  That also is changing.  Not only are Asians finding quality education alternatives in Asia, but also the rest of the world is starting to enroll in Asian education institutions.  Another key trend is that Asian graduates are more inclined to go back home where they can make a difference.

What is Donald Trump doing after rejecting the TPP agreement?  Trying to be tough with China, Korea and Japan.  He has also been tough with his allies and Iran.  The reaction of most is to look for alternatives.  Asia has been building up a middle class as well as connections between them.  Asia has been reaching out to Europe, Africa and Latin America and a two way response is developing.

One book suggests United States and China are at risk of war.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2017/09/u-s-and-china-may-be-headed-towards.html  

Another view that points to a Chinese strategy:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2019/05/chinas-secret-strategy-to-replace.html  Two possible sources of future tension are when the Dalai Lama dies and China tries to impose a replacement and when China decides they can take stronger action on Taiwan.

Singapore is considered a model, not only for Asia, but also for the rest of the world.  One theme parallels what I learned from Plato's "Republic."  He envisioned an ideal society based on merit.  Children would be universally cared for, but at different ages would be tested to determine which ones were most suitable to be rulers, which ones would run businesses and the remainder would be workers.  In Singapore education is critical.  In order to be president one must have served as an education minister.  Instead of democracy they are described a technocracy, but enjoy many of the benefits of what we consider democracy.  There is a real effort to find out what the people really want.  Talent is rewarded, but wealth is spread around for everyone's benefit. Civil bureaucrats are well educated and rewarded.  Trust is developed between the rulers and the ruled.  There is little crime or corruption.  One of the first decisions made after winning independence was to make English the main language as there were already established 3 languages (Chinese, Tamil and Malay that were striving for dominance.  My father once declared the best government would be a benevolent dictatorship might have found Singapore the closest example.

Asian cultural influences are everywhere.  We eat their food.  Many of us enjoy Bollywood, K pop, yoga, martial arts, etc. and buy huge amounts of Asian products and technology.   Asians have influenced philosophy and encouraged mindfulness.  They have contributed to Western enjoyment of life and are being rewarded for doing so.

Immigration of Asians has been going on for over a century and there are significant diasporas from different ethnic groups and in many different countries that are leaving their mark.  The fastest growing language in the United States is Telegu.  Inter-marriage both within Asia and with outsiders is bringing a real influence (and hopefully better understanding).

There is much more significant detail and acknowledgment of problems.  The world is changing and we will all feel the Asian influence intruding our lifestyle.  It could be pleasant.

No time to read the book?   Need a little bit more incentive?   Check out a one hour talk focusing on the book:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX_Z4qIBrfc

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Women's World Cup

The Women's World Cup, does not yet get the attention afforded the men's version.  A pity.  Yes, women are not as fast, as strong and maybe not as talented as the male stars, but they do possess skills while speed and strength are relative.  The games can be just as dramatic.

A few random thoughts.

The U.S. trashing of Thailand 13-0 gave me very mixed feelings.  It demonstrates the Women's World Cup  is not quite ready to expand the format to 32 teams.  To sustain interest it needs to be competitive.  Americans seemed to rejoice as the embarrassment most of us felt for the underdogs.  Later a player mocked the English team mimicking their tea drinking habits.

Thailand got a shock that must have humiliated some of their players and country people, but also inspired them to want to play better-.  Americans have a reputation of arrogance, but some of the goals were first goals, etc.  Sportsmanship suggests you need to lose gracefully, but others suggest to not gloat when winning.  It is good for everyone when anyone progresses as it forces the others to compete a little harder.  Thailand scored their first goal in the 91st minute against Sweden.  They demonstrated a joy comparable to actually winning.

US team sued American Soccer Association for equal pay with the men.  As some have pointed out it has marketing concerns.  What are fans willing to pay for?  If the fans are not willing in large enough numbers to pay actual money where is the money for equality to come from.   In many U.S. colleges the revenue from big ticket sports like basketball and football are shared with less popular sports in recognition that the other sports offer value for the students who participate and others who watch. 

 Apparently some men's teams have agreed to share revenue for the women's version.  Perhaps there are guilt feelings, but maybe they see some advantages.  Physical activity to good for all.  Most of us who spend time and money watching sporting events have had some active connection at some point in their life.  Women increasingly drive many decisions such what career to pursue, what things to buy, what people to have relations with.  The world is better off when women are listened to.

In passing I read one article about match fixing.  The more popular an activity is, it appears more people are interested to bet on the outcomes.  The more money involved the more attraction to cheat.  Cheating takes from the enjoyment of the fans and the participants.     Of course betting is often a major attraction for an event as those gambling have a vested interest in the outcome. 

As for me, I didn't bet, but I enjoyed the event and only regret that I didn't see more minutes.  The skills were more advanced than I anticipated.  I especially enjoyed trapping and passing.  Basketball is still my favorite sport where skills more often end up in a measurable result.  Soccer and hockey are much lower scoring meaning each goal is a combination of skill and luck and I feel the loser often could just as easily have won.  A centimeter or 1/10 of second can be the difference. 

Personalities do make a difference.  The top contenders all had an exceptional player that was a joy ot watch.  The Americans had several.  Megan Rapinoe stood out not only as a goal scorer, but also for her very public declarations regarding Donald Trump.  She also made an excellent speech commemorating the importance of women in sports.

The Women's World Cup has made for a better world.  If you missed this one and think of yourself as a sports lover, don't miss the next one.