We know our country needs to examine its priorities, whenWe debate how much to torture our prisoners and what to call it, rather than whether we ought to torture them at all.

We count nuclear warheads, instead of establishing a policy against dropping atomic bombs on civilians - ever.

We spend a lot of time and effort figuring out just how to execute criminals, instead of doing away with the death penalty entirely.

We try to hold telephone companies harmless in cases of wiretapping, instead of figuring out how to conduct police work legally.

We negotiate painfully with the Iraqi government on how to keep our troops there, instead figuring out how to get them out of there.

We work very hard on how to make more energy available, instead of working just a bit harder on how to use less.

We argue interminably about what kind of taxes to use to pay for education, but we haven,t figured out how to educate the children in the first place.

We spend billions of dollars to subsidize agriculture, but we depend on volunteer charitable organizations to make sure that everybody has enough to eat.

We are willing to spend untold billions and devote major police resources on interdicting drugs and incarcerating addicts, rather than spending just a fraction of that on helping addicts to kick their habit.

We hold the right to bear arms as sacrosanct, but the right to walk safely down the street has to take its chances.

Our electoral system turns upstanding, sincere candidates into cynical opportunists.

Everybody screams about gas prices, which consume less than 4 percent of household spending, but for years nobody said a word, as home prices shot through the roof, way out of the affordable range for the average family.

Our newspapers feature some of the best investigative reporting in the world, but when we turn to the editorial page, they do the best they can to distort the facts.

We agonize a lot about affordable healthcare, but as soon as it looks as if some provider or insurer won't make quite as much money as they think they should, the subject is dead.

The only people thought worthy of being interviewed on radio or television are the ones who have written a book.

We shower corporate executives with riches beyond the dreams of Croesus, but we can barely get the lower level employees up to the poverty line.

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