The Art of Democracy Is a National Coalition of Art Exhibitions
on the Dire State of American Politics Scheduled for the Fall of 2008.

Art of Democracy built a network of exhibitions and events that took place nationwide in the fall of 2008. New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Puerto Rico, Muncie, and several more locations created powerful exhibitions that magnified the voices of artists at a critical time in American democracy. This site remains an archive of the organziation of this nationwide action.
Art of Democracy logo, Frances Jetter

Follow Up

For actions in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 Art of Democracy go here. What Comes After

November 4, 2008
Editorial Page

“So Little Time, So Much Damage”

Here is a look – by no means comprehensive – at some of Mr. Bush’s recent parting gifts and those we fear are yet to come.

CIVIL LIBERTIES We don’t know all of the ways that the administration has violated Americans’ rights in the name of fighting terrorism. Last month, Attorney General Michael Mukasey rushed out new guidelines for the F.B.I. that permit agents to use chillingly intrusive techniques to collect information on Americans even where there is no evidence of wrongdoing.

Agents will be allowed to use informants to infiltrate lawful groups, engage in prolonged physical surveillance and lie about their identity while questioning a subject’s neighbors, relatives, co-workers and friends. The changes also give the F.B.I. – which has a long history of spying on civil rights groups and others – expanded latitude to use these techniques on people identified by racial, ethnic and religious background.

The administration showed further disdain for Americans’ privacy rights and for Congress’s power by making clear that it will ignore a provision in the legislation that established the Department of Homeland Security. The law requires the department’s privacy officer to account annually for any activity that could affect Americans’ privacy – and clearly stipulates that the report cannot be edited by any other officials at the department or the White House.

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has now released a memo asserting that the law “does not prohibit” officials from homeland security or the White House from reviewing the report. The memo then argues that since the law allows the officials to review the report, it would be unconstitutional to stop them from changing it. George Orwell couldn’t have done better.

Here is a look – by no means comprehensive – at some of Mr. Bush’s recent parting gifts and those we fear are yet to come.

The full editorial is here:

See past news items.

The so-called Patriot Act gives the FBI the authority to issue national security letters to ordinary American citizens that can order them to unconditionally comply with demands for information while forbidding them to discuss the order with anyone - including family members or an attorney - without the prospect of facing jail time.

How will you feel if you get a national security letter from an abusive agent of the government – and you can’t even tell your best friend? Will you feel better knowing you said nothing while it was still legal to dissent?






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