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National News

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 Them

If 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 now."

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:

  1. Alternative fuel: biodiesel, biomass, ethanol, hydrogen, and methanol
  2. Power generation: cogeneration, combined heat and power, distributed power, fuel cells, geothermal, green power, hydropower, micro-turbine, solar photovoltaic, ocean energy, and wind power
  3. 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 warming.

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."

"Democracy requires 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 when necessary.

"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:

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) is available at bookstores nationwide and all major online booksellers.

For more information, please visit americasconscience.com.

Source: DeHart & Company

 

 

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