The endowment of the United States of America includes its National Parks, the gold in Fort Knox, and the huge collection of documents covering the history of our great nation in the Smithsonian Institution.
These archives in the Smithsonian have been used as a central resource for many a great documentary, only now that practice may come to an end. At least, if you're not making your documentary for Showtime.
As this Washington Post article reveals, the Bush Administration is now selling an exclusive license to the material in the Smithsonian, that's the archives paid for by your and my tax dollars, to a single pay-television network. Goodbye Ken Burns, goodbye PBS. And who knows what will eventually be revealed in terms of kickback or political favoritism once all is revealed.
I had read about this naked sell-off, but what got me writing this post was actual feedback from a regular Nettertainment reader. To quote:
I have been enjoying your kooky-ranting-pinko blog. You must address the Smithsonian sale of public domain material to Showtime! Should the Dept. of Interior sell Yosemite to Trump? Should the Govt. sell the original Constitution to Harper Collins? Why don't we sell the Library of Congress to Amazon?
Gentle reader, you didn't have to flatter me to get me to address this issue; but it helps.
Wonder no longer. I could not agree more -- after all, aren't National Park names merely intellectual property assets primed to be sold off as powerful marketing tools for major corporations/GOP donors? Would it really spoil the awesome majesty of Yosemite National Park were it to be named AT&T National Park?
Or the tranquility of Denali in Alaska, since BushCheneyCo wants oil drilling in that state anyway, would your tranquility be greatly disturbed were all the signs to be trademarked, Exxon National Park?
It would just be a license, after all, for who knows maybe five, ten, fifty years. That's good license fees to be had.
Oh, shit, this exactly what the Bush Administration is starting to do.
I mean, isn't that like The Vatican licensing out the Holy Mother? This church service brought to you by Fiat's Virgin Mary.
Here's where some notable documentarians are at least trying to protest the Smithsonian deal from going through. As for you, it's time to call/email/write your Senator or Congressperson again. The two minutes it takes could make a difference.
Now, considering their "free market" anti-government bent (and I use quotation marks since the industry Bush and Cheney come from is one heavily subsidized by the government, with all sorts of regulations that help keep their monopolies in place) it's possible that these shady types would be selling off our precious public assets no matter the Federal Budget situation.
However, with this ruinous War on top of massive tax giveaways to the wealthy and lobbyist-catering pork barrel spending, those national resources that most enrich the lives of all us average Americans are being starved and slashed like nobody's business.
That's what happens, I guess, when you get an entitled rich kid who never had to actually succeed in business on his own, who could make like a thief with a company he helped ruin, who spends like the wastel son of proverb. This is what happens when you have an Administration that acts recklessly with no check on their power, only more Congressional cronies feeding at the trough.
What happens is, you eat into the endowment.
So who's the real conservative (as in, to conserve precious resources)...and who's the kook?