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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 4, 1910)
VOLTJMB.10, NUMBER 43
-ISSUED WEEKLY '
Entorcd nt the PoBtofllco at Lincoln, Nebraska,
is second-class matter.
Wxixiam J. IlnYAN
Editor nnd Proprietor
IUciiaiio L. Mktcai.fe
Ar? oclato Kdltor
C11AIU.KS W. llnrAN
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THE COMMONER, Lincoln, Nob,
A "HOBBLE PLATFORM"
LaFolletto's Magazine says: "The hobble
skirt may be beautiful and modish. It may be
artistic. It may be all that is pleasing to the
eye; but of one thing we aro quite sure it is
not built for speed. That's why it is called the
hobble skirt. What else would you call a gar
ment that fits so tightly about the knees that it
permits only the shortest possible steps? Mov
ing forward in a hobble skirt, even on level
pavement, is a matter of much uncertainty and
labor. As for going up hill or climbing steps
well, of course one may be carried. And that
is true of all kinds of hobbles; they retard pro
gress. Take the New York platform, for ex
ample. It's a' hobble platform. Hobbled with
tho sophistry of the 'old guard.' Hobbled with
a fulsome eulogy of the administration, with its
Ballingers, its Wickershams and its Knoxes.
Hobbled with unstinted .praise of the Payne
Aldricli .tariff law."
If the People Really Rule Why Don't
the People Get What They Want?
The Lincoln (Illinois) Courier prints this
editorial: "A few years ago a cartoonist repre
sented Bryan as a bird standing on a limb with
only one feather and that was tariff reform.
The picture showed then that Roosevelt had
borrowed all of the measures that Bryan advo
cated except tariff reform and now s.ince Teddy
has come out for revision of the tariff he has
plucked all of Bryan's feathers. As Bryan has
persistently and consistently advocated meas
ures which Roosevelt has recently endorsed
Roosevelt certainly owes Bryan an apology for
having assailed his doctrines in the past. If
any man is to enjoy the honors for a consistent
and- uncompromising advocacy of the popular
doctrines of today then Bryan is the man."
Herbert Parsons, writing in the Outlook of
which Theodore Roosevelt is "contributing edi
tor," explains "Why a Political Party Needs
Money." A more interesting topic would be,
"Why the Trusts Contributed Money to the
Republican Party when Theodore Roosevelt was
Senator Clapp of Minnesota said recently that
roods used to sell in this country for less than
the tariff on them and then ho added that it
did not matter then how high tho tariff was.
He is mistaken; it was the high tariff that sug
gested to manufacturers the idea of forming a
trust and taking advantage of the high rates.
Tho people dcBlro many things which they aro
ontitled to recelvo, which have been promised to
them, and which have boen withheld or at least
not delivered by their public servants, who in
reality make themselves tho masters of the peoplo
when trusted with power.
Tho pooplo want lower prices and tho reduction
of tho tariff. Why don't they get it? They were
promised reduction, but they got a higher tariff
and higher prices than beforo.
Tho people want tho control of monopoly and
the reduction of tho high prices of monopoly Why
don't they get it? All parties promise . it, yet
Moody's Manual shows that the gigantic monopo
lies have rapidly grown until their stocks and
bonds comprise a third of the national weplth.
They aggregate over thirty thousand millions of
dollars. Moody's Manual for 1907, page 2330, gives
over 1,000 companies absorbed or merged by or
Into other companies for 1907, and theso conditions
grow worso each year. Organized monopoly con
trols tho meat market; controls the selling prico
of beef, mutton, pork, fowls and every variety of
Organized monopoly controls tho prices of all
bakery products and candies and preserves; con
trols tho prices of all canned goods and tropical
fruits; "controls the price of -sugar and salt and
spices. Monopolies control everything that goes
on the table, as food, as tableware, china and
glassware, and, tho price of the table itself; con
trols tho price of everything that enters tho house,
tho furniture, the carpetB, the draperies; controls
tho prico of everything worn upon the back of
man, of woolen goods, of linen goods, of silk goods,
of cotton goods, of leather goods. They control
tho prico of all materials of which buildings aro
constructed lumber, iron and steel, cement, brick,
plaster, marble, granite, stone, tile1, slate, and
asphalt. They control paper and stationery goods,
iron, copper and steel and metals and goods mado
of these materials. They control dairy products;
they control railways and steamship lines, tele
graph, telephone and express companies. They con
trol everything needed by man, from the cradlo
which receives tho baby, and the toys with which
a child plays, to tho casket and tho cerements of
They havo raised prices 50 per cent higher than
tho markets of the world, and their apologists, tho
political allies of commercial monopoly and their
Intellectual mercenaries, fill the public press with
solemn argument about the quantitative theory of
money and the increase of gold as explaining and
justifying high prices.
Tho whole world is staggering under the high
prices of monopoly, and tho people of the United
States are afflicted with prices 60 per cent higher
than thoso paid by the balance of mankind. Tho
peoplo ask for bread and they get a stone. They
ask for lowor prices and they get a senatorial
investigation -as to tho cause of high prices, and
the causo of high prices when ascertained by this
unnecessary and absurd research will unquestion
ably bo used as a special plea and as an apology
and pretext for denying the reasonable demand
of tho American people for tho restraint of mon
opoly and tho lowering of prices.
Tho people demand a fair price forNtheir crudo
products, for their cattle and hogs and sheep and
the corn and hay and grass fed into theso domestic
animals and marketed. The beef trust artificially
fixes tho price of what they produce, without com
petition, at an unfair price, and no remedy Is
afforded. The tobacco trust fixes the price of their
tobacco, and is stirring up the ninrht riders' rebel
lion with its ignorant, criminal, and pitiful pro
tests, by stealing tho value of the labor of tho
tobacco raiser by artificial prices and no relief
is given. Gamblers in tho market places under
take'to forco prices of wheat, corn, oats and cot
ton baclc and forth fQr gambling purposes and no
Is it any wonder tho peoplo abandon the farm
and find a worso condition In tho grinding com- .
petition of labor in our great cities, where mon
opoly again fixes the price of labor? Is it any
wonder labor makes violent efforts to protect itself
and to protect tho wives and children, who look
to them for protection?
Tho people havo boon promised tho control of
monopoly. Why do they not get It? Are the
peoplo in control of government, or are tho trusts
in control? Do the people really rule?
Tho peoplo deslro an employers' liability act
eight hpurs of labor and one day of rest in seven
and sanitary housing for labor. Why do they not
get It? Is tho demand unreasonable? Has not
tho condition at Pittsburg, tho center of tho great
system of American protection, been fully Bet
forth by the highest authority, by tho trained ex
perts of tho Russell Sago foundation?
Did they not point out twelve hours of labor
seven days In tho-week as the usual rule, Impure
water, impure food, unsanitary housing, sick
women and children? Does not tho recent report
of tho department of commerce and labor of tho
Bethlehem company confirm it? Why is there no
relief from these hideous conditions of American
The part which the United States Steel corpora
tion has played In promoting political campaigns
Is an open secrot and furnishes ono of tho obvious
reason why relief is not afforded.
Tho pooplo would like publicity of campaign
contributions, and a thorough-going corrupt prac
tices act. Why do they not get It?
Who is interested In maintaining tho corrupt
practices? Do.not the peoplo deslro it stoppod?
Who opposes publicity of campaign contribu
tions? Do not the peoplo wish publicity of cam
paign contributions and offectlvo control of the
use of money in campaigns?
The pooplo desire to control gambling In agri
cultural products. Who Is concerned In maintain
ing this evil system of gambling In -wheat an&
corn and oats and ryo and cotton? Do the people
desire this gambling to continue, and would it
continue under tho rule of the peoplo?
Oh, it Is said, Mr. President, that the people
not know what they want nor how to govern
themselves directly, but only by representatives
I emphatically deny It. The demonstration 'in
Oregon is a final answer to such shallow nrn
tensos. I confess for the most part they are an
unorganized mob in politics; that for many yen.
they have trusted political parties managed hv
machine methods; that they do not select candi
dates or issues; but Oregon and Oklahoma point a.
new and safe way to correct this deficiency
Tho peoplo wish the gambling in stocks and
bonds to bo terminated. Why does the senate not
act? Why does not tho congress act and forbid
tho mails to the most gigantic and wicked gamb
ling scheme tho world has ever known ?a gigan
tic spongo, which absorbs by steal and craft hun
dreds of millions annually from foolish gambling
citizens, misled by false appeals to their avarice
cupidity, and speculative weaknesses, derisively
called "the lambs," who pass in an unbroken stream
to slaughter on the fascinating altars of mammon.
Why are the reserves of the national banks not
used exclusively for commerce, but used instead as
an agency of stock gambling and over-ccrtlflcation
of checks as a chief auxiliary?
Why is there no control of over-capitalization
of tho over-issue of stocks and bonds of corpora
tions, another means by which the people are de
frauded? Why is there no effective control of railroad
passenger, and freight rates aft'er twenty years
of agitation? Do tho peoplo want reasonable rail
road rates, or do the people conduct the govern
ment of the United States?
The present discussion of railroad freight rates
on the floor of the senate and on the floor of tho
house is almost entirely In vain, because the jury
is not an Impartial jury, but a Jury that, most
unfortunately, under machine rule, can not bo
from tho 'influence of tho enormous power of the
railroads In politics. The debate Is well-nigh use
less, and for this reason will amount to nothing
in tho way of substantial relief to the American
Why Is thoro no adequate control of the dis
crimination of railways against individuals, or
discriminations In favor of one community against
The people aro opposed to these discriminations,
but .their representatives who aro in power do not
adequately represent tho reasonable desires of tho
Why Is there no physical valuation of railways
as a basis of honest freight and passenger rates?
Why is there no parcels post? Would It serv
the interest of the people and protect, the deficit
of the postofllce department? Undoubtedly. But
tho great express companies have such political
power with the dominant representatives of tho
peoplo that the dominant representatives do not
justly represent the people, but represent instead
thoso who contribute money secretly to campaign
Why do wo not have a national development of
good roads, co-operating with every state and
county in the union?
The peoplo undoubtedly want it and undoubtedly
Why do we not have a systematic development
of our national waterways? The people want that,
but the recent rivers and harbors bill, appropriat
ing fifty-two millions, spent many millions on local
projects with political prestige, but without a thor
oughgoing national design.
The peoplo desired a pure food and drug act,
and it took a long time to get it, and its adminis
tration now is made almost -impossible by the in
fluences over government or self-promoting com
Wnv is equality of opportunity being' rapidly
destroyed and absorbed by corporate growth and
power without any protection of tho young men
and people of tho land? Do tho people want
equality of opportunity?
Tho peoplo universally desire an Income tax.
It was defeated in tho supremo court by a falla
cious argument, which I havo heretofore pointed
out, and will probably bo defeated as a constitu
tional amendment, because of machine rule and
tbo Influence of prlvatojnterest with machine rule,
which is more potential than the public welfare.
Why do the peoplo not get a progressive in
heritance tax on the gigantic fortunes of America?
The people want it. Every nation In Europe has
It, even under monarchies.
Finally, Mr. President, why do we not havo
election of senators by direct voto of tho people?
Nine-tenths of the peoplo want It, and tho senate
of the United States defeats it. Do tho peoplo
rule? Some of tho republican leaders say, "Yes;
tho peoplo rulo through tho republican party." My
answer is, Mr. President, that if tho people ruled
through tho republican party, they would havo
long since answered their own prayers and de
mands favorably and not denied themselves their
own potltlons. From Senator Owen's Speech.
Mr. Roosevelt complains of the domination
of politics by corporations. Does he include
the breweries among tho corporations criticised?
Let him say so if he dares; and yet they aro
more conspicuously and constantly in politics
than any other corporation.
"Abe Martin" says: "Th' fellor that kin kill
a mother hippopotamus an cripple her calf all
in on forenoon hain't got nothin on th' peerless
Nebraskan when it comes t' drawln' a crowd
"What's become o' th' ole-fashioned folks tha
used t "blush at some things?"
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