What an Obama victory next week will mean for Apple and its users

I’m in the process of making final plans for my next trip to the US, where I’ll be visiting Florida (Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton), then off to Macworld in San Francisco for my Powertools workshop on Apple’s Keynote (details upcoming).

After, I’ll stay on to do some more training, hopefully picking up some workshops, but likely leaving California before the Presidential Inauguration in January. Certainly, I will be able to pick up some of the feeling of change by the time I arrive in Florida on Christmas Eve (look for my reindeer).

Here in Australia, we experienced our change from a tired, conservative, “let’s go to war with George W.” fear-mongering government almost a year ago, and the relief has been palpable. Many of those who took the time to write to newspapers and blog about the shift noted a sense of human dignity having been returned to the Australian landscape, when a more progressive government was elected in November, 2007.

Now, because of the way I think about presentations (and how to best use Keynote), I am very aware of the power of presentations to persuade, using engaging and involving methods based on cognitive neuroscience, adult learning principles, and knowledge management. I am picking up “gigs” from individuals and organisations who wish to learn how to use these methods with their particular audiences, whether they be colleagues, politicians and their advisors, or church attendees.

In many respects, the Democrat party has been lousy at delivering persuasive messages, ineffectual at dealings with Republican hubris. In my presentation at Macworld this year, I discussed the power of emotions to persuade, and referred to psychologist Drew Westen’s book, The Political Brain, as evidence of this.

Here is part of the slide I used, showing a quote from the book:

My slide from Macworld 2008, featuring Drew Western

Drew Westen and Macworld 2008

I wanted the Macworld audience to understand the pervasiveness of emotions, whether in presenting, in politics, or in teaching, and how this aspect of human behaviour could be harnessed to make message giving more persuasive.

Westen’s thesis is that the Democrats have been poorly informed in how to deliver messages, allowing the GOP and its fear-based messages to hold sway, none more so than what the world is observing with the McCain/Palin team. (Believe me when I say the world is watching the US elections intensely, and we can see how poor economic management in the US has global effects. Ask the Icelanders, whose state-based airline just went bankrupt).

In Australia, surveys have shown that about 75% of Australians want an Obama victory next week. And we’ve had a year of living through “You’ll be sorry” messages from the conservative elements within Australia. So far, despite the economic challenges, the current progressive Government is managing quite well, and we here have been afforded some protection from the worst of the impending global recession.

If you heard last week’s Apple Q4 earnings call (I played some of the audio from the iTunes podcast at this week’s iMUG AGM as part of my President’s report), you would have heard CEO Steve Jobs singing the praises of Apple customers, of how they cleverly choose Apple products despite their premium price, even if it means waiting a little longer to afford them. He spoke of the economy’s unpredictability while speaking of Apple’s being protected from the buffeting the PC world is experiencing with their razor-thin margins and lack of innovation. Great products and $25 Billion in cash and no debts is a great means by which to weather the current turbulence.

In an insightful column recently, Robin Bloor wrote of “the sound of crashing Windows” referring to his observations, backed by data, that the Mac is making incredible inroads into the public and corporate mind and market share, challenging Windows’ dominance.

About Microsoft he wrote,

“Microsoft has very little territory on which to fight. In fact it almost feels as though the game is already over. It has no direct retail footprint and it doesn’t do hardware. It even suffers from the indignity that while you can run Windows under OS X, you cannot run OS X under Windows. Because of virtualization, Windows has become a Mac app for running legacy PC applications in the Mac world – and the Mac world is currently expanding at 3 times the rate of the Windows world.”

In other words, at least with respect to IT, change is on its way and it’s inevitable.

I want to suggest to you that an Obama victory next week will hasten that change significantly.

It’s not just that Obama is a switched-on technophile (as compared to the near-technophobic MacCain), able to better use social media to get his message across, but he far more mirrors how Apple operates. He comes from a minority background and must overcome huge resistance to change by conservative elements who prefer a “the herd might stink, but at least it’s safe with them” mentality that has prevailed hitherto.

But pain in the hip-pocket, loss of jobs at home and children in a flawed war, and the sub-prime mortgage fiasco, appears to have Americans asking themselves if the Microsoft-style FUD the GOP is asserting about Obama remains tenable.

If Obama succeeds, then a shift in how FUD is experienced by the voting public (we here in Australia have compulsory voting) will be demonstrated. FUD can only be effective if the product you have to offer has “good enough” qualities compared to the “as good as it gets”, and thus price and conformity are preferred over innovation and difference. The failure of Vista to even make the “good enough” grade has proved a tipping point for Microsoftian FUD.

Obama winning next week will be like the horns at Jericho blowing, bringing down many walls of separation between sections of the American populace, in place for hundreds of years. It will have far reaching effects, locally and globally, and the world will definitely alter its attitude to the US and its citizens after eight years of President Bush and his administration.

My assertion is that an Obama victory will loosen up many prejudices, while others will harden in the first year when the vanquished sit around ready to pop out the inevitable “told you so”. But the overarching effect I expect many will feel, including nations other than the US, will be a sigh of relief together with the generation of hope.

Many of us who have been part of the Mac world, experiencing prejudice and being squeezed out from the mainstream despite preferring the better, more emotionally satisfying product, will perhaps also feel a sense of joy if Obama succeeds. That’s not to say all Mac users are Democrats – far from it. But even progressive Republicans will prefer change this election, having had enough of the present administration with its central message of “family values” and a “war on terror”, and not wishing its de facto continuation with McCain/Palin.

Just like the effects of Roger Bannister running the first sub-four minute mile in 1954 saw many others quickly follow with their own sub-four records, thus breaking through a shared psychological barrier, the breaking through the race barrier next week, should it happen, ought to see many other shared psychological barriers also fall over.

I believe one of those barriers will be that artificially imposed on the Mac in industry, schools, and personal use. If there is one negative here, it’s that despite the psychological shift that would occur with an Obama win, the economic recession America will experience (is currently experiencing?) may see excessive financial conservative belief reflected in a “stay the course” with Windows attitude, despite evidence of its failures, doubts about getting Windows 7 out on time, and of course total cost of Windows ownership. The continuing moves to Open Source, a further threat to Microsoft, will parallel the openness of an Obama led government I would hope, in strict comparison to the incumbent’s history of secrecy.

I can’t vote in the US election, even though my father served in the US military at Fort Bragg in WWII, but I have a real love for the nation and its original principles, and a dislike for the faux patriotism displayed by those who believe they represent “real Americans”. I’m hoping when I get to the US in December I will experience the winds of change blowing through.

We did it here in Australia, and we’re doing OK, all things considered. Perhaps we’ll chat about the election results at Macworld in January. See you there.

(Today’s New York Times has an interesting piece on how Drew Westen’s ideas are influencing the Democrat’s message delivery process here. If his process is show to be effective in an Obama win, it will also put another nail in the Powerpoint coffin, with its “just fill in the bullet point cognitive style”, in preference to a more visual and emotionally effective Keynote-style I will be teaching at Macworld 2009).

40 responses to “What an Obama victory next week will mean for Apple and its users

  1. Actually, I’m a big supporter of Mac! A true American company and a symbol of American innovation. Many of our new 21st century jobs will come from Tech, and I plan on investing in Tech and Infrastructure when I’m president!


  2. “Obama is a switched-on technophile (as compared to the near-technophobic MacCain),”

    False story: McCain lost upper body mobility as prisoner in Nam after repeatedly having his arms etc broken – making computer use painful and very difficult.

    “…at Jericho blowing, bringing down many walls of separation between sections of the American populace, in place for hundreds of years.”

    Yes indeed, as the US abandons the form of government which made it what it became, as the people because of a relatively minor financial downturn vote in an unknown empty suit with sealed records who is going to do what Hoover did and cause the Second Great Depression, as the US assumes the supine position as a third world country, guts the mil, unilaterally disarms and initially adopts European Socialism, before moving to a full blown Communist State.

    And yes, you will be sorry when the Muslim hordes over run Aussie Land, as you flee into the Great Desert. And don’t look for sanctuary here either – the US will not take sides under your great hero and Messiah.

    “I can’t vote in the US election…”

    Thank God!

    Oh, and this is the last column of yours I click on.

  3. Poorfisher, you are welcome back here any time to add your opinions. Freedom of speech, as long as its not libellous or ad hominem is permitted here, for other to contemplate your ideas and assertions.

  4. Wow! Les, I totally respect you and all that you do for improving the dreadful Powerpoint virus that has taken over corporate culture. But you don’t understand what we are really facing in this country. An Obama Presidency would be a disaster. The Democrats would have full control of the House and Senate and the Presidency. They would have their way with whatever they wanted. Number one on his agenda? Freedom of Choice Act: meaning Federal funding for abortion, withdrawal of parental consent to abortions and reinstating partial birth abortions (check out the video of him at Planned Parenthood on YouTube). That means botched abortion babies are not cared for if they come out alive. They are killed on the spot. As a Christian I cannot stomach that.

    As a Jewish man, I find it hard to believe that you would give him a pass on that alone. God does not want abortions being performed, in any case. Nowhere does God speak of this as being allowed. God is all about life.

    And I also find it disturbing, with all of Obama’s Middle Eastern ties, that you would even think of supporting him. He will usher in a new doctrine when dealing with Israel that this country has never held to. You can forget about him backing Israel if they are attacked by another Muslim country. Guaranteed.

    This is one time when we Americans need to stop being persuaded by emotions and think with our heads. I am saddened that Jews would even consider voting for Obama. We have stood by Israel since 1948. I am proud that we have committed ourselves to defending this democracy. Why would you gamble with that when you know Obama has a Muslim background?

  5. Len,

    Personal politics ruins this (and any) site, and many readers’ opinions of you. You, of all people, should realize this.
    Moreover, inductive reasoning does not fly. I dare say you do not speak for all of Australia. One year does not indicate a trend in national opinion either way. “the relief has been palpable”. Well, maybe to you, but the nation as a whole?

    Next, I’ll bet you didn’t expect the responses you’ve received thus far, none of which support Obama. Perhaps there are more Republican and Conservative readers of your site than you realized. You should have known this, considering your target audience.

    Lastly, when did family values and protection of a nation become negative aspects of any civilization? Radical Islamic terrorists want to destroy anyone who does not believe as they do. That includes Australians. They also do not negotiate.

    Here’s some advice: Stay above the fray, comment on the process, but don’t reveal your personal opinions. You’ll have happier readers unconcerned about how your politics colors your postings.

    If you wish to interject political views start a new site devoted to it, and leave the theme and content of this site alone.

    There, an entire comment without revealing my politics. How easy was that?

  6. Um, I don’t know that Obama has a Muslim background. I know he spent time in the world’s most populous Muslim country, Indonesia, which is on my doorstep. But I do know that my country went hand in hand with GWB into Iraq, much like we followed JFK and LBJ and then RMN into Vietnam based on a trumped up domino theory of communist expansion. Thousands of lives lost and damaged with nothing to show for it. In time to come, while there will remain very close bonds between the US and Australia, our major trading partner in Asia will be China, as undemocratic as they come. Which is also where the US is borrowing billions from to support its war effort. Funny old world isn’t it? What could the US have done for health care and education with those billions? Am I correct in thinking the majority of Americans now want out of Iraq? And that Obama was one of the few to say it shouldn’t be there in the first place? I’m not sure the Middle East is any more secure now after eight years of Pres. Bush. But you can be sure that when people vote it will be more about emotion than logic. But I do thank you for supporting my Powerpoint stance!

  7. Thousands of lives lost and damaged with nothing to show for it.

    has Sydney experienced any major terrorist attacks recently?

    please, stop with the ridiculous Mac/Obama comparisons.

  8. LonePalm, who’s my target audience? Mac users? Keynote users? Thinking individuals wishing to know more about being persuasive and engaging when it comes to presentations?

    You know, I am being asked to teach many diverse groups how to use my skills to help them best get their message across. This includes scientists, priests, trainers, teachers and similar.

    From time to time, I will be asked to render assistance to groups who views and values I disagree with. At that time, I’ll have to make an ethical decision about my work and how my knowledge (which is an uncommon combo I’m sure you’ll agree) is to be applied.

    As to keeping the blog above politics and keeping it pure, I think the time is way past that. If I’m to guide others about persuasiveness and memorable message giving, surely politics is a part of that mix. It’s not only about selling widgets.

    Finally, no, I’m not surprised at the commentary so far appearing on the blog, and I’ve yet to moderate anyone’s opinions here. What I can see is that many are fearful of change, not just of Democrats returning to power but which Democrats. Many of your nation’s most august and popular newspapers appear to be seeking change too, even those in Alaska. You’ll know all is lost for the GOP when Rupert Murdoch supports Obama – he is nothing if not a pragmatist. But I do thank you for taking the time to write your comments and express your disagreement.

  9. Anon, Sydney did experience a terrorist attack but of a minor nature some years back when a garbage truck exploded outside the Hilton Hotel on George Street during a heads of state meeting in 1978. Recently in Melbourne a number of men were on trial for links to terrorist organisations, and it is a very hot topic here as we may well have more repressive laws regarding terrorism than the US courtesy of our previous government.

    I’m not the first nor will I be the last to draw a long bow when looking at the state of the Mac and political arguments. Rereading the blog article, and for a moment ignoring my personal preferences, will reveal some thought given to a shifting of attittudes to many things should Obama win. That’s the parallel I wish to draw.

  10. As a conservative Mac user, I had to chuckle at your article. Because if you are conservative, you believe that the Republicans’ effort to represent their ideals is subpar compared to the Democrats.

    In fact, in our conservative minds, the reason that Obama is winning is not based on fact or superiority of position but based on emotion.

    His whole campaign is based on the populist message of “change” at a time when the nation is looking for something different. They are buying the rhetoric, not the logic.

    The difference between Microsoft’s FUD and the GOP’s fear is that Republicans are raising valid points which is why polls are tightening and Microsoft continues to lose ground.

    This collective psyche of America wants change, but as more and more of Obama’s Marxist ideologies and anti-Israel sympathies are surfacing (despite the mainstream media’s best efforts), Americans are growing concerned that far-left ideals are not the change that we want.

    While many people share Obama’s emotion, there are a lot that are finding out in the waning days of the campaign that there are real differences on values.

    Both conservative and liberal pundits agree that Obama has not closed the sale or sealed the deal, or whatever metaphor you want to employ to explain the reason why he is not as far ahead as you would expect.

    And some are now secretly saying that a near-left of center candidate such as Hillary instead of a far left of center Obama would not only have this election locked up, but would probably govern better in the long term.

  11. This article is a prime example of the failures of the current education system of english speaking countries. Publish your political vomit somewhere else.

  12. Les,
    Respectfully, you still didn’t address my questions about Israel and abortion in regards to your faith. I believe you are looking at this from a secular world view and not a Judeo-Christian view. Either God is on the throne or, with all respect to you, you call yourself a Jew but you aren’t following God’s will, which is spelled out rather succinctly by Moses in the Torah. Maybe Israel isn’t important to you. But it is to me and many millions of Jews and Christians here in America. God blesses those who bless His people.

    And you don’t know if Obama is a Muslim? Once again, with all do respect, where have you been the last 12 months? Just because CNN or NBC or MSNBC doesn’t report the news anymore doesn’t mean there aren’t ways of determining this for yourself. Look at who he associates with: Tony Rezko (Syrian Muslim), Rashid Khalidi (PLO), Louis Farrakhan (American Muslim), his stepfather (Indonesian Muslim) and William Ayers, a known American anarchist and terrorist. Doesn’t this raise any flags to you? None at all?

    You may disagree with the war in Iraq (once again, look at it from God’s perspective), but we are clearly winning and have had troop withdrawals from Iraq for the last several months, though not being reported by the MSM. But is that how you want to base your decision? Do you honestly think Iran is not going to attack Israel, if given the chance to win with nuclear weapons? We can’t just ignore the world we live in and hope radical Islam will just go away. It won’t.

    I really hate this conversation. I like you and I suppose I understand why you agree with millions of Americans to vote for Obama, because we went to war in Iraq (which I believe he did support). But I will never understand why any Jew would support Obama, who is friends with radical Muslims who want to destroy Israel and they make no apologies for it.

    Once again, less emotion and more thought is needed in this election.


  13. Len,

    Nice discussion thus far.
    I made an assumption, based on subject material, that your audience includes business professionals in addition to the categories you mention. Apologies if not true.

    You state:”It’s not only about selling widgets.” Well, actually, it is, Whether your widget is physical goods or ideas, it’s all about persuasion and making a point effectively with audience interest. That’s selling, plain and simple.

    As for being way past interjecting politics, well, with all due respect, that’s pure rationalization. That doesn’t make it correct or even wise. If you really wish to enter the political fray, become an equal-opportunity excrement tosser. Your blog will be a lot more enjoyable and you’ll be able to have rational discussions on the subject of your posts, instead of this divergent mess.

    Purity of content is a breath of fresh air.
    There are many of us who crave that, and we sure aren’t getting that from newspapers or television media. The slippery slope of bias gets steeper every day, and when you choose to slide down that slope it’s very hard to climb back up to respectability. Far too many bloggers with really good sites decide to risk the respect they’ve earned by riding the bully pulpit of politics. They, and you now, risk alienating a large portion of your readers. Not too smart a choice.

  14. Les, I don’t find it surprising that so many comments on this piece are negative. I also respect your right to use your blog for whatever purpose you see fit.

    Whether Obama is Muslim, whether you are a Jew are immaterial. What is material is that people would like death and destruction to result from believing in these things.

    I fear change. I embrace change. Every single good thing that has ever happened to me has happened because I changed something. Every one of those time came at a price, but Fortune favours the brave, and the price has been small compared to the rewards.

    Thanks for the analogy, even if it falls upon deaf ears, even if it’s are hard point to argue.

  15. Hi Les,

    Thanks for a perspective on things from outside the country. You are probably aware that there is a vocal but largely insignificant 22% in America that still approves of Bush and thinks that the US will solve all its problems by simply outlawing Abortion (worked so well for alcohol during Prohibition, and it’s working so well for petty drug use today!)

    These people fit into a low education, high religion bracket and, as you noted in your article, are fear based in their decision making.

    How many of these people are screaming “socialist/terrorist/kill him” despite McCain’s backhanded assurance that he knows his opponent isn’t a socialist (as he admitted on Larry King Live the other day), or a terrorist, or should be killed by angry mobs.

    McCain has run a shameful campaign, and his supporters have eaten it up, deciding that Obama is a secret Muslim terror cell despite having high security clearance as a Senator. There’s no reasoning with these people, as they prefer the lie to the truth. It’s sad and shameful for America, but we’ve been living in a near fascist police state with torture camps, suspended civil rights, and constant propaganda for nearly a decade now.

    Don’t let the wingnuts get you down. That’s their MO: they work extremely hard to stifle any dissenting opinion.

  16. Well, I am one of the many Australian, evangelical Christians who are hoping and praying that Obama wins the US election.

    We have been deeply saddened by the actions of the Republican politicians who claim to be Christians and yet who appear to very cynically manipulate the Christian vote in the USA on certain hot-button topics and flout other Christian ideals left right and centre.

    Going into Iraq instead of Afghanistan after 911 is mind-boggling (not to mention the lies required to make it happen) and the death and destruction that has resulted from that is just unimaginable. It has so obviously inflamed Islamic hatred of the Western world, not cured it (witness the flood of Iraq Christians from the Country and the influx of terrorists-in-training). The idea that the USA is winning in Iraq is also amazing – it sounds like the messages coming out of the Kremlin before they finally had to concede defeat in Afghanistan years ago. It is quite unbelievable how anyone could justify this from a Christian perspective.

    Bush’s continued denial of Climate Change and our role in it, and his terrible history with Kyoto is unforgivable – as Christians we are called to be good stewards of this Earth and not meant to rape and pillage it to the detriment of our children.

    The Republican party’s position on gun ownership just has Australians shaking our heads wondering how they can be so blind. The rate of gun-deaths in the USA is at least 10 times higher than Australia – we are justifiably proud of our tight gun laws.

    The lack of concern for the poor and needy that the Republican party continually displays goes against so many root Christian values – again here in Australia we have free medical care for all and our social support systems are great (despite the usual moans and groans) and we can’t believe how terrible the US system is. (We also used to have free University education for all until the previous Conservative government who unfortunately also followed the Republican model went and abolished it).

    The arrogance of the USA on the world stage is heart-breaking, the rest of the World has been looking on and shaking it’s head in disbelief.

    The list goes on.

    Yes, Australians are very much relieved in general that we got rid of our arrogant red-neck Howard government (and the polls still say that is the case) who played the lap-dog to George Bush in so many ways and instead voted in a government displaying far more genuine Christian values. (hey Kevin Rudd is not perfect, but he is so much better than John Howard)

    We are just holding our breath hoping that the American people will do likewise.


  17. Dear Les, I would like to express my admiration and big respect for your blog. Always great ideas and observations.

    As for the politics I agree with you. I spent my youth in the former Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia ( now Czech Republic ) . As a university student i took an active part in the so called “Velvet Revolution” of 1989 which ended the 40 years rule of the Communist Party. Right after that I went to the USA where I spent few years working an traveling. Compared with reality, all my dreams of America were like comparing B&W TV with the newest HD Plasma TV. I met many great people and fell in love with the this great country. It has been long time since I have returned from there but my admiration for the USA is as strong as ever. However since Bushes installment I have been more and more concerned about the course of events taking place.

    I thing America is in dire need of change as well as the whole worlds needs to change facing all these new global issues. And I believe Obama winning the presidency would be a huge impulse in the right direction.

    PS: When I hear the republicans calling Obama a socialist I just have to laugh and be sorry for them, because they don’t know what they are saying : )

    I wish you a great trip to the US and more postings on your blog

  18. Um, I don’t know that Obama has a Muslim background…

    Let me fix that for you.

    FACT: Obama’s Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetoro was unquestionably Muslim.

    FACT: Obama was listed as a Muslim in his school registration records for grades 1 through 3.

    FACT: Eyewitness accounts of Obama attending mosque with Lolo are plentiful.

    FACT: Obama’s half-sister by Lolo was reported by the New York Times as saying “My whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim.”

    FACT: In _Dreams of My Father_, Obama recounts getting in trouble for making faces during Koranic studies. In Indonesia it is against the law for non-Muslims to enroll in those classes.

    Granted, none of these actually prove any more Muslim conviction on his part than the similar list of observations you could make about my Catholic upbringing proves. However, there is one very big difference indeed between those two examples.

    If you lose the faith, you are no longer a Catholic. That’s it.

    On the other hand, Islam is not quite so forgiving. His adoption by a Muslim stepfather alone is enough to make him a Muslim by Islamic law — and the penalties for apostasy are severe. Given the above facts, his public statements about being Christian are quite enough to merit the death penalty under the laws of Iran, for example. So if he does go ahead and talk to them as promised … he certainly shouldn’t visit them to do it!

  19. More executives support Obama over McCain. Business is for Obama.
    See the charts: http://tinyurl.com/5tzqsj

    And lets make it clear, even McCain’s POW mates support Obama over McCain:

  20. Wow, what flavor cool aid do you prefer? Is it the Marxist flavor or what? You are so blindly frolicking in fantasy land that anything else you have to say about any subject is worthless. Thoughts like yours is why much of this world is still struggling to peel itself from the middle ages.

  21. It’s 730am Saturday Nov 1, and I’ve woken up to quite a few new comments! At one point, if I was to judge the outcome of next week’s election just on the comments here, McCain/Palin would have a landslide win! But then some more moderate, real-name comments appear and some balance is restored.
    Those who saw me present at Macworld this year would have no doubt where my attitudes lay: I showed a rather salty illustration of an anti-Bush demonstrator holding a placard, and I also showed copies of Colin Powell’s Powerpoint show he presented at the UN to justitfy the “Coalition of the Willing’s” invasion of Iraq based on the “discovery” of WMDs (as exemplified in the Powerpoint stack). Perhaps one of the most horrific uses of Powerpoint ever! Just as well the military adores PPT not Keynote. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

    Believe it or not, I have spoken with the Australian Defence Force Psychology Unit about become an officer in the reserve so as to apply not my presentation skills, but my advanced knowledge of the treatment of traumatic stress. We have had here a scandalous treatment of the psychological aftermath for veterans returning from theatres of war, as well as suicides of those in training, and I thought I could make a difference. Ultimately, I couldn’t make the commitment needed.

    If Obama wins, I don’t know where the very conservatives will choose to live because Australia is far more central now that it was in the least 10 years, and it would be uncomfortable. Abortion is legal, and voting is compulsory! Oh, and very strict gun laws. No right to bear arms here! And apart from New Zealand, our nearest main trading neighbour is the most populous Muslim country in the world, whom many Australians live to visit, at least as far as Bali (a non-Muslim island) is concerned. Rather thsn fear this nation, Australia has worked assiduously to develop better relationships with Indonesia.

    On another matter, it certainly was not my intention to use the blog to influence voters – as if I could! But I do reserve the right to express myself as I feel fit, and a McCain/Palin win would not see me cancelling my trip!

  22. Obama is a christian, but that isn’t really the point. Equal opportunity no matter what faith or lack of faith. Colin Powell recently spoke on this matter. I think he says it best.

    “Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no. That’s not America. Is there something wrong with a seven-year-old Muslim American kid believing he or she could be president? Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion that [Obama] is a Muslim and might have an association with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

    “I feel particularly strong about this because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay, was of a mother at Arlington Cemetery and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone, and it gave his awards – Purple Heart, Bronze Star – showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death, he was 20 years old. And then at the very top of the head stone, it didn’t have a Christian cross. It didn’t have a Star of David. It has a crescent and star of the Islamic faith.

    “And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he could serve his country and he gave his life.”

    Kareem gave his life for this country, yet you fear him for his muslim upbringing. Sad.

    And as far as associates go – our current president doesn’t sit too well on that matter, nor does McCain. Do a little checking. The Saudi Royal family and G. Gordon Libby come to mind.

    Les – have always liked your site and your insights. You have tread into an area that people seem to have lost the ability to be subjective about (Cooper Gun story today as an example). Fear mongering over a difference of opinion seems to be the canard of the conservative movement here. Shame really.

    Semper Fi

  23. Semper Fi, I first heard the Powell interview via iTunes podcast a few hours after it was aired, and I was deeply impressed with both his means of expressing himself, and his cogent quality of thought. I didn’t think for one minute he was being influenced by Obama’s racial mix, and for the once-highest ranking military leader, once touted as a future Republican President to publicly state his preference, I saw as representing a great “undoing” to use the analytical term, of his efforts at the UN, informed by apparent deceptions from the Bush Administration.

    I just watched a Rachel Maddow interview with Obama courtesy of a link from Dave Winer, and it was made clear to me that Obama has levelled his understanding of America’s plight at the feet of President Bush, not the Republican party per se. I think this is Westen’s advice kicking in, to keep on target with what so many Americans of different leanings agree upon – that it’s the current administration and its potential continuation in the hands of McCain/Palin that’s the issue now.

    Onto another matter connecting Apple (and indeed the PC world) to the current discussion. For those who concern themselves with Obama’s alleged socialist attitudes, ask yourself whose economy you’re indirectly supported by buying your Mac or iPod or iPhone. Get ready to throw salt over your left shoulder, but so many electronic toys and tchotckes people are getting into debt over (as well as doing their work with!) are made in a…. communist country! Mind you, it’s a communism with incredible tinges of capitalism/cronyism/corruption too, so which C word you choose to use will likely be determined by the current bias (er, emotional stance) you bring to the discussion.
    Again, ta for your considered input to the blog. All the entries, for and against, make blogging a less soulless experience.

  24. So many comments on this page single out being a Muslim as a bad thing.

    I am a Muslim. I am not a fanatic. I am offended by the narrow-minded perception that many people have of my faith. There are radicals in every religion – do not use the actions of a few to discredit the many.

    Radicalism, blind-intolerance of differences of opinion, hatred and fear are everywhere.

    Look to your own actions and comments.

  25. By the way everyone, I’m sorry if my comments above sounded particularly “religious” but I felt I had to say something to counter Blad_Rnr who basically states if you’re a Christian or Jew your only choice is to support John McCain/Sarah Palin.

    It needs to be said that God is not a Republican! (Or a Democrat) Rather if you’re a Christian or Jew (or of any religious bent or ethical position), you need to judge these parties by their entire political platforms but most importantly by their actions.

    In the case of the Bush government, far too many of their actions demonstrate a distinct lack of so many Christian values. Iraq, Guantanamo, Kyoto, NRA, welfare, health, Wall Street de-regulation, National debt, etc etc.

    Phew, now back to my Mac.


  26. @veggiedude: “Business is for Obama.”

    Not according to this Oct 31 item on Reuters, says US CFO’s still prefer McCain by a wide margin:


  27. Pingback: Top Posts « WordPress.com

  28. Les,

    Trust me, even where I live (in the heart of Texas), there are many, many people working hard to elect Obama/Biden. When I read the contents of this blog entry, I thought, “Watch out, Les, the Republicans will be out after you!”

    DanielEran is right–the Republicans in my country do everything they can to stifle dissent. Ignore them. They are bullies (and cowards at heart).

    Keep up the good work. I enjoy and learn a lot from your articles.

  29. What a crock!
    I’m an Australian and to say the change to the Rudd Government has been an improvement depends only on ones political persuasion. Since the change of government unemployment has gone up, invested moneys has shrunk, the hard earned government surplus has dwindled and our illustrious leader has nearly spent more time overseas than at home. I know I can’t blame the global economic down turn on the Australian government, but it sure was easy for them to say the previous governments prosperity was solely attributed to the mining boom. Why then hasn’t that cushioned us now?

  30. Craig, since your email is linked to an advertising company whose client list is Queensland property developers, I’m not suprised you would write in a way that reveals your anxiety. The good times are over my friend, to paraphrase Sen. McCain. We’re all going to have to work harder than ever to make a decent living, no matter which Government is in power. But at least as an Aussie, I feel some dignity has been restored to issues of human rights and welfare in this country with the demise of the Howard Government. It seems the linking of things Moslem to candidates is not restricted to Australia by the way – you do remember the nasty tactics employed in the last few days with the letter drop by Jackie Kelly’s husband in Lyndsay attempting to link the Labor candidate to a fake Islamic group? Same things in the US it seems – what I’m saying in my blog entry is you can get away with FUD for only so long, before your tactics do you in.

  31. Yes I do work for an advertising agency in Queensland. Property development is the majority of most advertising agencies in Queensland as the major advertising accounts are serviced by Sydney or Melbourne agencies. That is the nature of the business.
    You mention human dignity – I have a disabled daughter and the current government wants to scrap payments to care givers. Yes Kevin Rudd has back flipped but with the disclaimer of only for this year, with no guarantee for the future.
    We also have to look at the plight of Australian pensioners to wonder about the welfare concerns of the current government.
    Also dirty tricks aren’t the sole domain of Liberal politicians. Have you forgotten dead voters voting in the Townsville electorate of Thuringowa.

  32. Craig, I agree that no party is immune from spin and blather, and nor is Apple! And the Rudd Government needs to look closely at its human rights platform, including that of carers. I use carers as an example of high levels of chronic stress in my workshops on stress management as they have become an important part of how to measure stress (Google care giver and telomere). So the discussion is on my radar, Craig! I just want readers to keep if they can to the blog entry’s main thrust – that of change in the air should Obama win, and what this may mean for many other societal shibboleths (apart from an African-American in the White House).

  33. Lesposen
    Thank you for you diplomatic responses to my entries. Politics is an emotional topic and tends to bring out the best but mainly the worst in people.
    I believe my entries were not too far off the main thrust of your blog’s theme about change. For myself and quite a few other Australians change has not been for the better.
    This is the first time I have ever had an online discourse because I had to disagree with your the third paragraph, as not all Australians see the current government as progressive, but regressive.

  34. Good grief. God help us all. Dark ages are ahead if Obama gets in. Never before in the history of our country will such an inexperienced person with a dubious background be put in charge as the leader of the free world. A novice in charge of our nuclear codes. A marxist at heart with a group of socialists behind him that want to control America for themselves. Say goodbye to America as you know it now, Les. Enjoy your last trip to our country when you attend MacWorld. No one is going to be paying you to do your little presentations because they will want to hold on to their money.

    BTW, I always never could read much of your stuff. Always found myself wanting my few minutes back after visiting your site. Brevity is certainly not your forte.

    Again, God help us all.

  35. @DanielEran. Mr. Apple know it all.

    First off, the so-called “Kill him” comment was proven to be false. This is a fact as it was investigated by secret service. Secondly, this really happened, along with other instances.


    Libs are so full of it. Eight freaking years of Bush hatred goes unnoticed but some fabricated story of someone supposedly yelling “kill him” at a rally is believed to actually happen.

  36. Nunuvyer Bizniz


    Please don’t be discouraged by the rash of hateful comments on your article. The whole world wants Obama, for obvious reasons. Obama also has an overwhelming lead in the USA. Just look at how comments are running on Digg, for example. The Bush/Cheney era is almost over, and the hateful noise you hear from Republicans is sheer desperation. They know nothing but hate and fear. Keep up the good work! The relief will soon be palpable.

  37. Indeed.

    Americans and the world are desperate for real change.

    Thanks for your kind words about this situation.

  38. congratulations to American voters for their wisdom and to John McCain for his graciousness in defeat. Obama will move quickly like FDR and JFK even before his inauguration to get America’s dignity and place as leader of the free world restored. Watch how he offers moderate Republicans places in his cabinet and how soon Bush and Palin will be figures of history.

  39. Hi Les –

    I think your commentary on “What an Obama victory next week will mean for Apple and its users” was both sagacious and perspicacious! Furthermore, I admire you grace in responding to the somewhat hysterical notes of some Americans who disagree with you. For the record, I am Jewish and have never been concerned with Obama’s approach to Israel. Indeed the editors of both the Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz concur! What’s even more impressive is that a larger percentage of Jews voted for Obama than for Kerry. Kudos to my co-religionists for overcoming the FUD message that was spread (and is still being spewed). Furthermore I am a resident of Florida, and it went for Obama! I am very proud as both a Jew and a Floridian to have cast my vote for Obama.

    No doubt, there are significant challenges ahead that will require hard work and likely some compromise. But it is wonderful to awaken to a future without a President and Vice-President who acknowledged breaking the law, who have trampled on the Constitution, and who have done their best to sew FUD and characterize dissent as unpatriotic.

    Thank you very much for your thoughtful post.

  40. Obama might get a MacBook into the Oval Office Mac the Oval Office!

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