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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Saturday 3 August 2013

It's Getting Hot In Here: Stephen Harper's Hidden Agenda

The real reason Team Harper, who have made it clear their objective is to nurture a Canada that thinks like they do, both deny climate change and are working so darn hard to nurture it:

A hotter Canada will result in angrier, reactive Canadians! 

It's brilliant, really, in the most self-defeating way possible...


Hotter World Means Hotter Tempers, More Violence

Climate change may be one of the factors contributing to violence within and among societies, according to the latest study.
Whether it’s a drought in India, a heat wave in the U.S. or an extreme change in rainfall in Africa, Asia or South America, the outcomes tend to be the same: more wars, more murder, more riots and more domestic violence.
The intimate connection between climate and human interaction has long been documented, and could have contributed to the downfall of Chinese and Mayan empires, say the study’s authors. Reporting in the journal Science,  lead author Solomon Hsiang, assistant professor of public policy at the University of California in Berkeley. and his colleagues analyzed 60 studies of climate change and human conflict at several levels, from domestic violence to the collapse of entire civilizations. “All around the world across different societies in the modern world as well as throughout history, we find that human conflict seems to be linked to changes in climate,” says Hsiang.
Rising temperatures have the greatest effect on human conflict; the equivalent of a five degree Fahrenheit increase in an average U.S. county over a month, for example, could raise the odds of personal violence such as assault, murder and domestic violence by 4%, and the risk of civil war, riots or ethnic violence by 14%.
Rainfall and drought can also contribute to conflict; the researchers found spikes in domestic violence in India, as well as higher murder rates in the U.S. and in Tanzania and civil wars in tropical regions tied to relatively small changes in rain or temperature.
The findings reinforce previous studies that linked climate change to human affairs, and raise concerns about the potential impact that changing environmental conditions will have on the stability of societies in coming decades. Most climate change estimates predict a rise of two to four standard deviations in temperature, rainfall or drought by 2050, which suggests a 30% greater risk of intergroup conflicts, says Hsiang.
“It’s a very, very impressive review of the literature,” says Dr. Mark Shapiro, chief of acute care surgery at Duke University Medical Center, who has published research on the link between heat and assaults, but was not associated with the latest study.
Heat could provide fertile ground for interpersonal violence by bringing people into closer contact indoors to seek relief. Assault, rape— even the number of baseball pitchers who retaliate against batters by hitting them with pitches — all rise with temperature, studies show. Even noise can become a more anger-inducing irritant, according to Dutch researchers.
On a population level, climate change may have more indirect effects on social stability; as crops fail due to drought or flood, for instance, migration may provoke conflicts as communities compete for more limited resources.
However, Shapiro says it’s not clear that rising global temperatures will necessary lead to ever-escalating conflict. His own work found a direct, linear relationship between assault and temperature, but other studies suggested there may be a threshold at which violence starts to decline.
Still, says Hsiang, his data show that man is historically ill-equipped to cope with changing climate, and may continue to fall prey to the influence that higher temperatures and more rainfall can have on the stability of both personal and society relationships. “We need to understand why climate changes cause conflict so we can help societies to adapt to these events and avoid the violence,” he said in a statement.

Friday 2 August 2013

Cracked Politics, Fractured Society

   - Brian Lilley

Ford Nation stands proudly behind their man.  In Rob Ford, they see someone who represents the approach they prefer (no-holds-barred, no compromise) delivering the specific asks they have decided matters to them (cut taxes, pillory lefties).

If online commentary is anything to go by, Ford Nation is heavily populated with angry, bitter people with no time nor interest in understanding the complexities or root causes of issues ranging from gridlock to crime to homelessness.  Their patience with what is often a circuitous and poorly performing process has worn out.

Rob Ford validates his supporters in a typically populist way - but more so than other populist politicians, Ford also validates and enables their less patient behaviour.  Ford texts while driving.  Ford mouths off to TTC drivers.  Ford bullies his opponents to get his way.  Ford regularly acts in a rushed, self-serving manner that frankly, many of us would like the excuse to do, were it not for the threat of red-tape ramifications (ie, legal consequences).

The best part is, Ford gets away with it.  Whether he neglects to read his files (something that Lilley would have concerns about, were it not Rob Ford), racks up driving infractions or potentially smokes crack, he walks away consequence-free.  This free ride only emboldens him to become the great... right wing something-or-other everyone expects him to be - he gets applauded for saying in public the kinds of things Tim Hudak only dares to say at Spring Fling.

Which is something else that the Political Right is starting to notice.  While Hudak has the right talk, he simply isn't gaining traction within Ontario.  It was Rob Ford and the Rob Ford candidate - not Tim Hudak and the Hudak Conservative Candidate - that brought in a seat in yesterday's byelection.  Rob Ford, not Tim Hudak, is becoming the de facto figurehead of the provincial conservatives.

As it the case with all politicians, supporters tend to either ignore or dismiss the parts of their candidate they don't like and instead, focus on the failings of opponents.  It matters not that Ford has had to back-peddle repeatedly over things he's said (lying about being drunk at a hockey game, lying about being charged with DUI in Florida, etc); so long as he keeps cutting taxes and shrinking government that's all that matters.  Besides, the other guys are all liars, too - better our liar than theirs, right?

Here's the danger in this; when you overlook or worse, start to justify the failings of your political horse, you are essentially giving your blessing to their behaviour and encouraging the same in others.

What if the crack video comes to light and Project Traveler presents a solid case that the Mayor of Toronto has bought illegal drugs and supported an illegal industry that destroys lives?  If we forgive Ford for giving money to people who bring gun violence to our streets, are we essentially saying it's okay to support drug dealers?

This is where the true moral lines in the sand get drawn; Ford Nation or people so angry with the political alternative that they're willing to back Ford in a "the enemy of my enemy is my ally" kind of way will have to decide what sins they will forgive to get their narrow wins or to punish people they don't like.  If people like Brian Lilley stick to their guns, then we will live in a society where it doesn't matter if the Chief Magistrate supports crime, so long as he cuts taxes.

More to the point, they're going to find themselves doubling-down on Ford's rhetoric, enabling him to be the "great right-wing whatever" people apparently expect him to be.  The world will become a little bit more black-and-white, with-us-or-against us.  How does that sort of mentality reflect itself in public opinion? 

A few posts from Twitter last night:

Need to establish minimum level of non-governmental income before people r allowed to vote. (Taxes paid - govt income)

So, do all voters in show up wearing a gimp outfit ready to endure more bullshit from the Liberals? Masochists...

Election result = the downward spiral of Ontario will continue with no end in sight

Liberals could basically kill babies with your tax dollars and get re-elected. Wait...

...anyone who voted in is either in on the fraud or an idiot and a sucker...

Screw you Scarborough. I never liked you anyway. Your ass is grass.

Ontario voters who returned liberal candidates today should be embarrassed. What does this party have to do to lose seats? Murder?

CFRA caller: "It had nothing to do with Tim Hudak. Immigrants like daycare."

Everyone who voted Liberal today should be ashamed of themselves

When you start telling people who hold different opinions than you they should be ashamed of themselves, when you start dismissing entire communities that don't vote your way, when you start suggesting minority groups are to blame for your team not winning and when you start to suggest electoral rules should be changed to exclude those least likely to vote the way you do, we have a real problem.

For an example of how that trend can go horribly wrong, look at Greece, or Hungary.  In fact, virulent racism is on the rise across Europe

Here in Canada, politicians have gotten a little too comfortable with the fear button; when you motivate people to vote against, not for, you set them in opposition with anyone who does support the other guy.  Divide and conquer is a great short-term strategy for winning power, but it's also a long-term recipe for fostering a fractured, angry society.

This isn't a path we want to be on - it's not healthy for anyone, whatever their political views, wherever they sit on the socio-economic spectrum.  Short-sightedness might be immediately fulfilling but it leaves you with one hell of a hangover.  And we're all being short-sighted these days.

You'd have to be on crack not to notice.

Thursday 1 August 2013

Martin Regg Cohn on Political Purity

Purity isn't a one-day affair; it's a state of mind, a lifestyle choice.  Of course, politicians have the desperate job of motivating an often somnambulant populace that barely tunes in on voting day, much less the rest of the year.  As such, politics is less about perfection and more about outrunning the bear. 
How much we want change will be reflected by how willing we are to get engaged ourselves.

In pursuit of political purity on byelection day: Cohn

Are voters tuning out talk of scandals? Or are they ready to turn out the Liberals?

By: Provincial Politics, Published on Thu Aug 01 2013
With five byelections Thursday, and scandal in the air, polls show the Liberals losing ground.
But on voting day, on-the-ground organization counts more than mid-summer surveys. It’s about pulling the vote, not polling voters.
That makes tonight’s outcome hard to predict. And even harder to analyze without exit polling to probe voters’ motives.
Are voters tuning out talk of scandals? Or are they ready to turn out the Liberals?
(Either way, tonight’s results won’t change the overall balance of power in the minority legislature. These mid-term byelections might yield protest votes, but not regime change.)
The opposition is desperately trying to tar the governing Liberals with tales of Dalton McGuinty’s misdeeds. Inconveniently, the former premier is no longer in public life.
One bemused NDP canvasser recounted how a voter on the doorstep thought McGuinty was still premier, and was poised to punish him. Will other voters vent their anger on his successor as premier, Kathleen Wynne?
Since taking over last February, Wynne, has been busy rebranding her new Liberal government: She is far more popular personally, and remains untainted by the gas plant controversy.
But for all the good reviews, there is recurring bad news from McGuinty’s questionable calculations — financial and political — in cancelling two controversial GTA gas plants before the 2011 election. McGuinty tried to lowball the costs at less than $200 million, but they have snowballed to nearly three times that amount.
The opposition narrative is that McGuinty and Wynne are part of a Liberal continuum — guilt by association that renders Wynne damaged goods. By that standard, it’s hard for any of the parties to recast themselves as politically pure (unless they want to fight the next election as a contest between the ghosts of three former premiers from the rival parties — McGuinty, Mike Harris and Bob Rae.)
Consider the broader scandal scorecard:
Among tens of thousands of documents and emails released by the Wynne government from the McGuinty era is an exchange showing how the former premier’s office tried to twist the arm of Speaker Dave Levac (over his ruling that the government might be heading for a contempt finding.) Senior McGuinty advisers discussed how to get the Speaker to change his mind.
The tone of their (admittedly private) correspondence was as offensive as their stated objective. (Interestingly, many of their duties are now handled by longtime Liberal operative Tom Allison, who was forced out by those very McGuinty loyalists last year — putting the lie to the notion that the two premiers’ teams were as one.)
As Levac noted in a statement this week, he did not change his ruling. But he did observe that the opposition parties have also intervened with him to discuss his rulings — which perhaps explains why they are not in a hurry to call him before a legislative committee to testify out of turn.
As the opposition correctly argues, the office of the Speaker is sacrosanct and should be above partisanship. Why then have the Tories flagrantly transgressed the venerable parliamentary tradition of not campaigning in the Speaker’s own constituency between elections, so that he can remain above the fray?
One Tory MPP after another has campaigned shamelessly in Levac’s Brant riding over the past year, taking advantage of the Speaker’s virtual vow of silence that prevents him from rebutting them on partisan matters, even in the media. (By tradition, the Speaker’s kid gloves come off only during a general election campaign, when the legislature is dissolved, but not before).
Political purity, it seems, is in the eye of the partisan beholder. And guilt by association only goes so far.
Yes, McGuinty’s staffers crossed a line by trying to twist Levac’s arm. Happily, he didn’t accede — unlike, say, the supposedly impartial Tory head of a Senate committee who backed off when Senator Mike Duffy’s silence was bought for a $90,000 cash advance from the prime minister’s then-chief-of-staff, Nigel Wright. Or unlike, say, B.C.’s NDP leader Adrian Dix (who, dare we say it, once worked for Ontario’s NDP), falsifying a letter by backdating it when he worked as a chief of staff to a B.C. premier.
But we digress about these transgressions.
Today is byelection day. If you are in one of those five byelection ridings, be sure to vote — be it along party lines, scandal plotlines, subway lines, or any more edifying pathway you may find through the twists and turns of political life.
Martin Regg Cohn’s provincial affairs column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. , Twitter: @reggcohn

Committing Sociology in Government Relations

I find this very interesting. 
To imply a trend is emerging suggests there are other examples of GR misbehaviour just waiting to come to light.  How could that be, though?  Surely tough laws and some examples of justice served would be sufficient to course-correct bad behaviour in the industry, right?  If not - if tough-on-crime doesn't result in greater law-and-order - why not?
If you felt so inclined, you could profile the sorts of people who get into these types of ethically sticky situations.  With a bit of probing, you could get into their headspace and figure out what fuels the type of arrogance that assumes rules only apply to lesser people.  If you felt ambitious you could even do something about it.
But we won't.  That's not our style.
We don't look for patterns of behaviour - studying trends is a bit too much like committing sociology.  Looking at broader, historical cycles has nothing to do with the price of rice, so we don't bother.
In the end, though, it doesn't matter whether we consciously adapt to the changing social dynamic out there.  Systems have a habit of eventually finding balance, given enough time and iterations.  It just happens that the early adapters tend to be the ones who thrive; the inwardly-focused laggards fall behind.  That's just how evolution works.
Social media and real-time accountability are changing the dynamic of political power; we can no longer act first, think later and not expect to be called on our inconsistencies.  As a result, we are going to have to put a bit more forethought into what we say and do.  This isn't a curtailing of freedom, as some might decry; it's about efficiency and value-add
This will have particular application to GR and other folk who interact at high levels with government; it will have great meaning for government itself as well.   
I really don't see anything new in this - but don't take my word for it.  After all, I'm just looking for trends.


The Burning Platform: Brian Lilley and the Cost of Laissez-Faire Politics

Lilley makes an interesting point, as he occasionally does, though he also misses a big one.  
It's a general rule in politics that nobody cares what you do to achieve results - the ends justify the means.  Attack ads are a great example - nobody likes 'em, but because they work, everyone uses them.  Shouting down opponents in the Legislature, using tax dollars to fund literature critical of political opponents, intentionally spreading false rumours, etc. etc. - they're all examples of the same thing. 
Believe me - if the 2011 election had produced a Liberal majority, we'd be hearing far less about the gas plants.  In fact, the Opposition Parties would be mining that experience for best practises they could use.  The reverse certainly has happened.  Look at Stephen Harper's litany of sins - how many of them still make headlines?  That's why Liberals are pulling from his playbook - his tactics have worked in strengthening the Conservatives' partisan hold (though I'd question how sustainable that hold is).

Political Parties, after all, aren't charged with promoting democracy - they're charged with winning power.  Tending to democracy is, technically, the job of citizens, though we've gotten good at uploading that responsibility to others.  We elect officials based partially on the individual, but to a large extent on their Party brand; who, then, are our elected officials accountable to?  They only hear from their constituents every four years; the Party, however, interacts with them almost daily.  At our worst, we fundamentally don't care about how well our democracy functions, either, so long as we get the small-picture wins we feel matter to us. 
Our indifference to the political process serves as a dopper, snuffing the light of our democratic system.

Lilley serves as the poster boy for this laissez-faire style of democratic engagement; he doesn't care whether Rob Ford smokes crack, fuelling an illicit industry that ruins lives through addiction and ends lives through gun violence that spills out onto our streets, killing white girls like Jane Creba; Ford cuts taxes and mouths off to lefties, which is all that matters to him. 
When the consequences of his short-sightedness land a little too close to home, Lilley will be among the first demanding the suppliers of Rob Ford's demand face harsh punishment.  Why take the lead out of the water when it's so much easier to spend more money reactively, curing lead poisoning?  To proactively determine and address the root causes of a problem's a bit too much like committing sociology.
If the ends justify the means in politics, it's because we as citizens only pay attention to the process when we aren't getting what we want.  It should serve as no surprise, then, that there are no standardized checks and balances within the backrooms of Canadian politics.  Being a politician is a bit like being a parent; you don't get a manual on how to hire and manage staff, best practises for organizing offices, etc.  As with their role in general, the theory is that they either get it right on their own or get ousted next election. 
As such, there's nothing stopping elected officials from serial hiring and firing, paying minimum wage but providing maximum workload, providing little or poor direction, or allocating more resources to partisan advertising than to working on deliverables for their constituents.  Members can even spend their time learning Portuguese in a Spanish speaking country if they so choose - so long as they keep getting elected, what else matters?
The only place this complete autonomy gets checked is where the roles and responsibilities of the elected official impacts the elected official above them.  Parties need butts in seats for votes, after all; when the offhand comments of one elected official casts a shadow on the whole Party, someone has to light a fire under them to get in line.
So, who’s the top elected official in a Party?  The Leader – they won their seat and they won the leadership; if they happen to be Premier, it can be argued they won the province, too.  That gives them the autonomy to direct their staff as they please.  As they are responsible for the Party (Caucus included) producing results, it's the job of the Leader to deliver those results, by whatever means necessary - again, because in politics you are judged by what you accomplish, not how you accomplish it.
The job of leader comes with no description, but it involves a lot of fingers in a lot of pies - planning messaging and policy, getting out and meeting with constituents, stakeholders and potential partners, attending fundraisers (Parties gotta have funds), communicating with the media, communicating with Caucus, etc., etc.  One person can't do it all, so they need staff to assist.  It's all well and good to turn to other elected officials to serve as House Leader or Caucus Whip, but those elected officials have their own ridings to tend to, as well - meaning that at the end of the day, staff have to keep the machine rolling.
What happens when you have the staff of one supremely autonomous elected official running up against elected officials with fewer titles under their belt?  Does the hired hand representing the will of the Leader trump the official only elected in one riding?  If you're that senior staffer, being pressured to deliver results regardless of consequence, what would you do when faced with a lower-tier official not falling in line?
Of course, this is all just theoretical – for us private citizens, for elected officials and for staffers themselves.  There are no written protocols on responsibility, chain-of-command between staff at one tier vs. officials/staff at another.  That's all process stuff which nobody has historically had time for - remember, the means don't matter, only the ends do.  When you don't care how you get from A to B, you take the easiest route possible, even if it isn't the safest.  Political staff make it up as they go along, just as the elected officials do. 
When there’s no established communications protocol between partners, you end up with pushing matches that devolve into threats based on who has the most influence.  As such the people at the top (either elected or appointed) conclude “we are smart, they are dumb” to justify the application of excessive pressure to deliver the results they think are appropriate.
Influence, by the way, always translates into money – Members who do a lot of fundraising have more clout with the Centre.  The Centre has clout in that they can allocate or not allocate resources for elections or provide “wins” like development projects for ridings for Members who tow the line.  The end goal, of course, is always to gain or retain enough seats to hold power - not to make society function better. 
This doesn't apply to just one Party – that’s politics, period.  The same failings that landed us with the gas plants have led to fake lakes, robocalls, Walkerton and the 407.  There are no written rules of conduct, no communications protocols and most egregious, no training on how to do the internal stuff well.  As a result, you end up with front line staff who have neither training nor a clear mandate for their jobs, elected officials who have no internal office support, a lack of clarity of communication between all levels of the political system, so on and so forth.  Talent does sometimes get rewarded, but more than anything it's those best able to keep others in line, regardless of the social cost for doing so, that get ahead.
That's politics - lots of friction, lots of heat, but far less light than there could be.  Instead of finding efficient ways to channel that friction into positive, productive energy, we have this habit of pouring gas on the fire.
Rob Ford is great at this, which probably accounts for his success.  In other contexts, saying that supporting liberal policies is like putting a gun in someone's hand would result in a telephone call from the police for issuing a threat; when it comes from an elected official - even one elected in a different jurisdiction - the standards are different.
Let's not forget that the Rob Ford staffer who tried to bring some accountability to the whole crack-smoking affair got canned.  What example does that set for his replacement?
There's always talk about the need for politics to function more like a business; well, the best businesses offer direction, support and training to their staff; they understand they can only get out of their process what they put in to it.  Achieving, not winning, is their goal.
Until we start believing that the ends don't justify the means and respond accordingly - starting with appropriate internal training for Politicians and their staff - we are condemning ourselves to burn.


Wednesday 31 July 2013

Libero Caveat Emptor

How do you define freedom?  Is freedom something that disengages you from responsibility, from consequence, from social systems?
Be conscious of who's selling you that brand of freedom.  There may be more to it than you bargained for.

Sun News Limbic Response #10, #12 and #15

It's apparent that Conservatives think differently than Liberals do (meaning the reverse is equally true).  There are a multitude of factors both genetic and experiential that lead to these differences of opinion.  16 peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated how these differences manifest themselves physiologically.
I've taken the liberty of posting the cited conclusions pertinent to this SUN article below:
10. Conservatism is focused on preventing negative outcomes, while liberalism is focused on advancing positive outcomes.
12. Compared to liberals, conservatives are less open to new experiences and learn better from negative stimuli than positive stimuli.
15. When faced with a conflict, liberals are more likely than conservatives to alter their habitual response when cues indicate it is necessary.
Forgive us, lord, we know not consciously what we do.  Then again - we can only perform with the tools you gave us.

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Discipline vs Desire

Despite what we like to tell ourselves, we human animals aren't much in control of ourselves.  Our Executive Self (prefrontal cortex) is dwarfed in influence and size by our Reactive Self (limbic system).  It's why we impulsively do things we'll regret and take short term actions that we'll pay for in the long-run.

When we question ourselves and focus on internal discipline, we can differentiate between what is a reaction and what is a logical thought.  It's when we start to think we are smart, they are dumb that we fall into cognitive dissonance traps and make completely avoidable mistakes.

Know your enemy - but also yourself.  It's when you stop putting your interests first that you truly gain control.

Why We Buy: 20 Human Desires Every Marketer Must Know by @eMakeItHappen

by Emily Worden | Featured Contributor
Want to sell more? Get in the mind of your customer and identify their wants, needs and desires.
News Flash #1: People care about themselves, not companies. People are bursting with needs, wants and desires, and they buy products to satisfy those emotions. Customers care about your products only when they have a specific need that must be fulfilled. (“I’m hungry.” “I’m cold.” “I want money.” “I want a partner.”)
News Flash #2: People are emotional creatures. They purchase based on emotion and THEN justify with logic. It takes seconds to make a purchasing decision, and dopamine (the feel good neurochemical) rises in the presence of shiny new objects. Emotions rule, the credit card is swiped, dopamine recedes and buyer’s remorse sets in. Then customers use logic to justify their emotional purchase. (“It was a great sale, I couldn’t pass it up!” “Sure it was expensive, but I got it before anyone else!”)
No matter your age, nationality or gender, we are all motivated by the same wants and desires. In his indispensable book, Ca$hvertising: How to Use More Than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone, Drew Eric Whitman elucidates primary and learned desires we all experience. The 8 Common Desires listed below are primal biological needs that we all feel compelled to fulfill, no matter who we are, where we live or what we do:
8 Primal Desires in Everyone:
  1. Survival: Live a long and healthy life
  2. Protection: Safety, care and protection for yourself and loved ones
  3. Freedom: Freedom from danger, fear and pain
  4. Comfort: Comfortable living conditions
  5. Pleasure: Enjoy food, beverages and experiences
  6. Relationships: Sexual relations, companionship and compatibility
  7. Success: To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses
  8. Likability: Social approval, being part of the “in” crowd
In addition to the primary, biological needs listed above, Whitman lists a secondary set of learned desires. Everyone may not be influenced by every desire on this list, but the needs are certainly prevalent in today’s society and may be quite relevant to your customers:
9 Learned Desires:
  1. Efficiency: Maximum productivity with minimal effort
  2. Convenience: Saving money, time or effort
  3. Dependability and Quality: Higher standards and reliability
  4. Cleanliness: Clean body and surroundings
  5. Beauty and Style: Expressing yourself, pleasing the senses
  6. Intelligence: To be informed, understanding and intellectual
  7. Curiosity: A strong desire to learn and discover
  8. Profit: Buying and selling for profit or making something for profit
  9. Bargains: Purchasing something below retail value
In addition to the 17 desires Whitman identified, I’d like to propose 3 more:
3 Consumer Desires:
  1. Scarcity: If something is difficult to possess or we’re told we can’t have it, we want it more and attribute a higher value to it. Something is more valuable if it might get taken away.
  2. Values: We purchase products that align with our personal values. We buy products because they are made in the USA, sales are donated to charities, or to support a local business.
  3. Individuality: The desire to stand out from the crowd, to be different. It can take many forms – to be first in the know, to create something viral, to have something before anyone else does. (I call this the “hipster effect,” named after the subculture of independent, counter-culture youths who eschew mainstream ideas and thrive on discovering new things before anyone else.)
Now that you know what drives people to buy, your task is to think about your customers. Identify what your customer desires, how your product satisfies that desire, and communicate that value to your customer.
First, ask your customers what they want. Send a survey, an email, start a conversation with social media. Ask your customers why they purchase from you, why they don’t, what they’re looking for, what they’d like to see next, where else they shop, their interests and preferences … all this data gives valuable insights to what your customer really wants and desires.
Second, help your customer visualize using your product and how it will satisfy their desires. Paint a picture with your words, appeal to the five senses. Describe your customer using your product and how good they’ll feel when their desire is met. You’ll have people itching to purchase your product and satisfy their needs as soon as possible.

Death of the Salesman

Be it sales, politics or tying the knot, it's recognized that the best way to motivate action is to apply pressure.  Act now, or lose your chance!  Don't let someone else beat you to it!
Death is a pretty definitive pressure point; we can deny it or ignore it, but we can't escape it.  The more we can sense death (of the body, a tradition, our reputation, our party) hovering around us, the stronger becomes the urge to react.  Those reactions tend to be more focused on the short-term; instinct, after all, is momentary - it doesn't plan ahead.
Of course death, like most of the truths we cling to, depends on one's point-of-view.  When you see yourself as part of something larger - a system, as if you will - the end of you begins to matter less than what you leave behind.  Instead of worry about what happens to us, we can consciously decide what to do with the time that is given us.
When you're not worried about outracing the bear, even at the expense of your friends, you realize that when we turn and face that fear together, we're stronger.  That's when you stop consuming life through products and services sold to you and start to live it yourself.  Pressure is the best recognized motivator - that doesn't mean there isn't something better.
Selfishness merely outruns the bear, but must keep on running; it's altruism that defeats fear entirely.

The Political Family

Partisan politics is a tribal business - one tribe vs. the other in competition over limited resources (seats) in the quest for power (government).  That's partisanship.
Political relationships, though, are different - or they can be, at their best.  Having been in countless campaigns and having spent an unhealthy amount of time around political people, I've seen teams form bonds that go beyond the workmanlike measure that some political operatives seem to prefer.  I've watched strangers develop deep, personal relationships - knowing each others hopes and fears, sharing inside jokes, being there to support each other through challenges that go beyond the political arena.
Like a company of soldiers, people in politics with the right leadership and the right support become like family, with the intuitive sense of collaboration that implies.  There is nothing so magic as watching a well-oiled team flow together, working an event or hitting the hustings.  The mechanics of the process are so natural, so complimentary, so trusting that the work just happens and value gets added instinctively.
At the same time, when there is that deep level of trust, respect and commitment between team members, they will not be afraid to engage in interventions when necessary.  They don't do this as a challenge or a threat, but out of love of the individual and the whole. 
Strong, supportive individuals working together to create something that's respectful of but more than the sum of is parts.
That's what family is; that's what politics can be - and we work together, that's what society can become.