Tuesday, 31 July, 2007 1:13 PM
A Citizen's Wake-Up Call: Six
Problems We Can No Longer Afford to Ignore--and What We Can Do About
you think you're too busy to be politically active, think again.
Bernadette Vadurro says not only can you change the destructive
course our nation is on, you must. Her new book, America's Conscience,
was written to stir yours into action.
Santa Fe, NM
—Are you informed about the serious issues facing our nation
and world? More to the point, are you doing something about it?
If you're like most of us, you're probably thinking, Well, if I
didn't have to spend so much time raising the kids, working long,
stressful weeks, and meeting a million other obligations, maybe
I'd have time to be politically active. Bernadette Vadurro understands.
But she says that in the face of the war still raging in Iraq, a
growing energy crisis, and a depressing laundry list of social and
economic problems, being busy is no excuse.
"In today's world
of constantly changing foreign and domestic events, it is no longer
acceptable to be disengaged, ill-informed, or naïve about governmental
matters and foreign affairs," says Vadurro, author of America's
Conscience: Facing Threats to Democracy, the Middle Class and Our
World (Speakers Live Books, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-9793580-0-5, $24.95).
"Many of the important issues of today are reaching crisis
level—almost every day more U.S. soldiers are killed in Iraq,
gas prices are the highest they've been in decades, global warming
continues while many stand idly by, and healthcare costs are rapidly
escalating to unaffordable levels. Most people are already being
seriously impacted by one or more of these issues, and the future
looks even more bleak. The time to get involved and informed is
In short, Vadurro wants
to jar us out of our slumber and push us out of our comfort zones.
Her new book is written for those who feel they need to know more
about America's foreign policies, especially wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
the oil connection, and how our political system seemed to change
overnight. The book will help enlighten those who have little time
for independent research but who thirst for the whole story about
what's going on in America and around the world. Presenting the
facts in a clear, succinct, and objective way, this book is sure
to make you better informed and prepared as a citizen.
Here, based on the carefully
researched information found in America's Conscience, are six big
problems facing Americans today:
Problem #1: The
never-ending war in Iraq.
In 2003 America officially
began its attack on Iraq in order to topple Saddam Hussein and find
his alleged cache of weapons of mass destruction. After four years
of fighting in the country, no weapons of mass destruction have
been discovered and no clear link has been made between Iraq and
al-Qaeda—two of the main reasons America entered the war.
A low-functioning Iraqi military, which isn't ready to take over
the fight on its own, and civil disorder within the country have
created a situation where there is no end in sight for U.S. involvement
in the war. "Distress in the region continues as it appears
the priority of the United States in Iraq has been the rebuilding
of the oil pipelines, a gigantic embassy, and permanent military
bases," says Vadurro. "It has failed to make the rebuilding
of homes, hospitals, and commerce a priority. Iraqi communities
sit in rubble without reliable utilities, including water, sewer,
electricity. To date over 3,400 American soldiers have been killed
and at present the war is costing over $200 million per day."
Problem #2: Our
national oil addiction.
America has more than
doubled its oil consumption from 8.8 million barrels per day in
1977 to more than 21 million in 2006. Of course Americans are not
the only people who have needs for greater amounts of oil. By 2004,
global oil production exceeded 80 million barrels per day for the
first time. Fortunately, as fossil fuel supplies become more and
more depleted, breakthroughs in alternative energy sources are happening
every day. These safe, reusable, environmentally friendly substances
and processes include:
- Alternative fuel:
biodiesel, biomass, ethanol, hydrogen, and methanol
- Power generation:
cogeneration, combined heat and power, distributed power, fuel
cells, geothermal, green power, hydropower, micro-turbine, solar
photovoltaic, ocean energy, and wind power
- Increased energy
efficiency: advanced materials, high-efficiency appliances,
high-performance buildings, energy management, intelligent highways,
ground source heat and lighting, mass transportation, recycling,
smart growth, and solar thermal heat
Problem #3: The
pressing need for campaign reform.
As the Democrats and
Republicans race to find their candidates for the 2008 election,
now is an important time to take a look at campaign reform. With
the costs of running a campaign now in the multi-million dollar
range, candidates must rely on the hefty contributions made by corporations
and special interest groups to fund their campaigns and help get
them elected. As a result, our elected officials become beholden
to these entities. Often, those heavy-moneyed special interest groups
become the primary concern of our elected officials, while the matters
of the most importance to the majority of Americans fall to the
bottom of the totem pole. "There are ways for us as citizens
to initiate campaign reform," says Vadurro. "Research
your candidates and their campaign funding practices. If you discover
that a candidate has had an exorbitant amount of donations from
corporations or special interest groups, don't vote for them. It's
as easy as that!"
Problem #4: America's
broken healthcare system.
The sad reality is that
millions of Americans lack healthcare insurance and millions more
are underinsured. The healthcare system in the U.S. is heavily dependent
upon the private sector and is generally based on a patient's ability
to pay. For those with healthcare coverage, the cost has skyrocketed
out of control as every year healthcare insurance premiums, co-payments,
and deductibles increase at alarming rates. "As these increase,
more employers find it necessary to pass more of the costs onto
employees, effectively shrinking paychecks or causing some employees
to opt out of insurance programs or reduce coverage when they feel
they can no longer afford to pay," says Vadurro. "The
broken healthcare system is especially cumbersome and expensive
for America's middle class. And for the working poor, health insurance
is a luxury they cannot afford."
Problem #5: Global
Many studies are showing
that our earth is getting warmer because of an increase in greenhouse
gases that are being trapped in the earth's atmosphere. This trapped
warmer air is causing our glaciers to melt at a much faster rate
than anyone believed possible. According to a study released in
September of 2006, the earth is now reaching and exceeding the warmest
levels in nearly 12,000 years and is within 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit
of its hottest temperature levels in the past million years. There
are countless examples throughout the world of how global warming
is influencing weather patterns, wildlife, and our global life-support
system. "Global warming is a phenomenon that we can all take
active steps to help stop," says Vadurro. "From getting
rid of your oversized SUVs to replacing old appliances with high-energy-efficiency
appliances to recycling and buying recycled materials, the options
are numerous. By making just a few lifestyle changes we can all
help clean up our world!"
Problem #6: America's
failing education system.
A 2006 Time study revealed
that an alarming number of American high school students have been
dropping out of school. The ten-year trend disclosed that up to
33 percent of American children will be left behind. "The U.S.
urgently needs to fix the problem with our public school system,"
says Vadurro. "Each year's delay means America loses further
ground to other nations. I believe the American educational system
needs a total and complete overhaul. Setting smart standards, integrating
the latest understanding of learning styles, curriculum, and technologies
would be a good start. Also, accelerated teaching programs, smaller
class sizes, and an adequate budget to re-establish important vocational
technical problems would go a long way toward fixing the problem."
a public of fully informed and knowledgeable citizens in order to
work to its fullest potential," says Vadurro. "As Americans,
we must always ask questions of our elected public officials and
expect answers that make sense. When answers do not make sense,
we must reflect, research, and think, and we must demand change
"Americans are a
special breed of human—creative, innovative, resilient, and
positive—all at the same time," continues Vadurro. "And
now is the time that we should come together and be a true collective,
pooling our brainpower and resources as we re-establish our country
as one of the greatest in the world, not only in our own minds but
in the minds of our fellow global citizens."
About the Author:
Bernadette T. Vadurro
is a tenth generation New Mexican. She is the granddaughter of the
late Frank S. Ortiz and the daughter of Nap Benavidez. Bernadette
grew up in a political household; her maternal grandfather was a
prominent member of the Republican Party who served as the mayor
of Santa Fe. Her father, the late Nap Benavidez, was a staunch Democrat
who helped run local campaigns and who also served as a precinct
chairman in the Democratic Party. Bernadette was raised to believe
that it is every American's responsibility to be fully informed
in civic matters. Ms. Vadurro is a 1984 magna cum laude graduate
of the College of Santa Fe. She holds a degree in business administration
and is a professional speaker. She is a passionate community leader
who has volunteered her time and service to several nonprofit organizations.
The author lives in Santa Fe with her husband, Rob, and daughter
Katie. Bernadette is also the mother of Christy Brown and the grandmother
of Summer Elizabeth Brown.
About the Book:
Facing Threats to Democracy, the Middle Class and Our World (Speakers
Live Books, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-9793580-0-5, $24.95) is available
at bookstores nationwide and all major online booksellers.
For more information,
please visit americasconscience.com.
Source: DeHart &