The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, November 17, 1911, Page 2, Image 2

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had been emasculated; that Wall street and the
trusts had -won a notable victory and that lawless
wealth would hereafter wiffffle derisive flnffers
from the tip of scornful noses at the law officers
of the Kovcrnment
The World-Herald did not Incline to that view at
the tlmer nor does It now. The Incident at Pitts
burg1 is only one of many happenings which go to
conilrm our belief that the Sherman act wan never
held In so profound respect,, nor viewed with such
a wholesome fearr aa It la by the "malefactors of
sreat wealth" at the present time In the whole .
country there Is hardly an organ of special privi
lege that is not now denouncing the Sherman law,
deploring the supreme court decision, and declar
ing that "something must be done" to- take "busi
ness" out from under the shadow of fear and fore-
bodlngs that the law and the decision have caused.
The stock cry Is that It is impossible for "big
business" to tellr under "the rule of reason"
whether It Is violating the Sherman art or not.
And the fact Is, we strongly suspect,, that every
big corporation that Is making this compTatnt does
nor because It knows very well that it Is violating
the law,, and that the law, as the supreme court
has construed and denned it, can be enforced
against It.
From quite the other extreme that Is from, the
most radical sources It Is complained that the
court construction of the law has made Impossible
the enforcement of Its criminal penalties. The best
way to And out whether this be true Is to try it.
And the way to try It Is to elect a democratic presi
dent who Is In favor of enforcing the law as a
criminal statute because he believes that "guilt
Is personal," If It Is found that the fears now
expressed are well grounded It will not take long
to- so amend the law that It can be enforced crimi
nally as well as civilly.
Here la a defense of the supreme cotfrt de
cision which put the word "unreasonable" In
the anti-trust law a decision for which the
trusts have worked for nearly twenty years
a decision which violates the spirit If not the
letter of the constitution in that the court has
AMENDED the law.
Let the World-Herald editor print the law
against burglary or larceny with the word "un
reason able" inserted, and its readers will then
see how absurd that paper's position Is :Of
course, the trusts would like the law repealed
entirely, but they were mighty glad to, get the
decision which the "World-Herald indorses. The
demand for the enforcement of the criminal
clause would be all right if it was coupled with
a demand for legislation restoring the present
law and carrying out the democratic platform,
but to praise the decision is to oppose legisla
tion and that means to wait several years for the
supreme court to decide that the criminal clause
of the law is worthless and then all the work
will have to be done over for we will then- be
' where we were twenty-nine years ago when the
fight began.
Several cities are pressing their claims for
the national convention. The Commoner does
not care to take sides In this controversy but
It ventures to suggest that the place should not
be selected with reference to the claims of any
candidate. It looks now as if there would be
quite a rivalry among candidates, and the local
environment of tha convention ought to give
courteous treatment to the various aspirants.
The first thing to be considered is the accommo
dation of the visitors. No city should be selected
unless it is able to furnish the necessary hotel
accommodations for those who will attend. The
second consideration is expense to the delegates.
The more centrally located place is the bet
ter, other things being equal. The third con
sideration is the fund that can be raised. There
are certain expenses attendant upon a conven
tion which are usually paid out of the. fund
given by the city that gets the convention.
There is a local advantage to "hotels, newspapers,
street cars, railroads, etc., and those having
pecuniary interest usually subscribe to a fund
which la given to the party organization. While
this ought not to be a controlling factor it is a
matter to be considered. But whatever else may
be said in favor of a city let It be sure that the
various candidates will receive fair treatment at
the hands of the local papers.
The Commoner.
a question Into the arena of politics. The
public la not specially concerned in Mr, Claries
opinion on annexation but It might welcome a
statement from him on the Standard Oil decision
and the means of protecting the public from it.
Editorial in Denver News: In Ohio, Newton
Baker, a Tom Johnson lieutenant, was elected
by the democrats and independent republicans
In Toledo Brand Whitlock was re-elected by the
inependent party for the fourth successive time
and In Cincinnati, the democratic ticket,
largely supported by disgusted republicans,
swept Into office and put the finishing touches
to the complete demolition of the "Cox gang,"
Of all the popular victories won last Tuesday
the Cincinnati triumph Is the most splendid,
for George B, Cox, controlling the republican,
party, has owned, the city for twenty years,
dominating all conventions and naming every
candidate. Henry T. Hunt, the democratic can
didate for mayor, was the prosecuting- attorney
who had Cox Indicted a year ago, and whose
remarkable fight to send the boss to the peni
tentiary was only defeated by a corrupt judiciary.
It can not be conceded, however, that these
democratic victories In Ohio are indicative of
Governor Harmon's strength. Whitlock and
Baker are both anti-Harmon men, and during
the Cox crusade, Hunt continually made the
charge that Governor Harmon was rendering
all aid and sustenance to the Cox-controlled
There can be no doubt, though, that the Ohio
results fell heavily on President Taft. He stood
for the opposition to- Baker and Whitlock, -and
in Cincinnati went, to the length of making
personal pleas for the election of the republi
can ticket.
4 Speaker Clark has allowed himself to be forced
into another utterance on annexation. He says:
"Nine-tenths of the people of this country
favor the annexation of Canada and I don't care
who hears me say it. I am willing to. make this
proposition: You let me run for president on
a platform calling for annexation of Canada,
insofar as this country can accomplish that
end, and let President Taft run against me,
opposing annexation. Why, I would carry every
state in the union,"
Now that reciprocity is dead it may do no
harm for Mr. Clark to air his views on this
matter, although there seems to be no good
reason why any American should seek to stir
Canadians to unfriendliness by thrusting such
The Houston Post Is not always accurate In,
Its statements when It has a position to sus
tain. For instance, In attempting to put Gover
nor Harmon and Governor Wilson in the same
class, it says: "Mr. Bryan's objection to Gover
nor Harmon is that he did not vote the ticket
In 1&96," The Post Is mistaken, as-usual. Mr.
Bryan does not urge Mr. Harmon's failure to
votg the ticket In X8$6 as an. Insurmountable
objection. It puts the democrats on inquiry and
suggests that they find out WHY he did not
support the ticket then and whether he now
recognizes that the real issue In 1896, as now,
is the issue between plutocracy and democracy.
The objections to Mr. Harmon are numerous
and will be presented as occasion requires, but
the Post will please observe that Governor Har
mon's failure to support the ticket in 1896 is
not the only objection that is made to his candidacy.
Vilas, Colo., Oct. 31, 1911. Editor The Com
moner: I believe that I am voicing a common
sentiment in saying that I hope The Commoner
will be literally inundated with commendations
for the stand it has taken in the Taft-supreme
court packing affair. In his Minneapolis speech
Mr. Taft said, or is quoted as saying, that, "I
am proud that I was able to get men who could
and did render such a far-reaching decision'
So there was no accident about it, he was simply
"able to find the men to make the decision."
The court-packing charges is a little the hottest
shot that W. J. Bryan has yet sent Into the
trust camp, and may there be no let up until the
whole country is turned Into an interrogation
point for William Howard Taft and the whole
trust crew to gape at. Sincerely,
Will the president tell us how he thinks the
court, as now constituted, would decide the
merger case if it came up again? Does not the
reasoning of the majority in the Standard Oil
and Tobacco cases reverse the decision in the
merger and Trans-Missouri cases? Why does
not the president admit that the court has' vir
tually destroyed the Sherman law? He can
then favor amendments strengthening it.
Mr. Taft's point of view is shown by the fact
that instead of explaining why he did not prose
cute the steel trust officials criminally he is
explaining why he began even an equity suit. It
is the public who have a right to demand an
explanation not the trusts.
The emperor of China finding that his govern
ment has provoked an Insurrection that he finds
difficulty In suppressing; Issues an appeal to
the people in. which he confesses mistakes and
lays the blame on advisors. Perhaps President
Taft may find the appeal suggestive. He has
been through the west and found revolt against
his administration how would it do for him
to throw the blame on his advisors?
Below will be found an. .extract from the
Chinese emperor's appeal, slightly modified to
suit the president's case. Here is what the
oriental ruler says behold how his experience
coincides with the president:
"The Chinese emperor says: I have reigned
three years (this Is about the time President
Taft has reigned) and have always acted con
scientiously In the Interest of the people. (Let
us concede that the president has done the best
he could), 'but,' continues the Chinese emperor,
'I have not employed men properly, as I am
without political skill. I have employed too
many nobles, (representatives of plutocracy) in
political position which contraverses constitu
tionalism (on railway matters) (and on other
matters) (one) (several) whom I trusted de
ceived me. Hence public opinion was an
tagonized (there is no doubt of it.) When I
urged reform, officials and the gentry seized the
opportunity to embezzle (and turn authority to
private advantage.) Much of the people's money
has been taken (by high taxation and by the
predatory Interests), but nothing to the benefit
of the people has been achieved. On several
occasions edicts have promulgated laws (on the
trust question, for instance), but none of them
has been obeyed.
"'The people are grumbling (very loudly),
yet I do not know. Disasters, loom ahead (big
ones), but I do not see (but1 1 know they are
coming). The whole empire Is seething (ask
the progressives If It isn't here). The spirit of
our nine deceased emperors (not to speak of
distinguished lines of presidents) are unable to
enjoy the sacrifices properly while It is feared
that the people will suffer grievously (in addition
to what they have already suffered). All these
things are my own fault, and I hereby announce
to the world that I swear to reform,, and with
our soldiers (the democrats' and progressive
republicans, who are the only ones who have
done any fighting), and the people to carry out
the constitution faithfully " etc., etc.
Isn't there a striking similarity between the
situation here and In China? But will the presi
dent be as quick to recognize It?
The people of Philadelphia, democrats, insur
gent republicans and independents alike, are to
be congratulated upon the election of Rudolph
Blankenburg to the office of mayor. For many
years Mr. Blankenburg has persistently and con
sistently fought for good government and he
may reasonably be expected to give to the people
of Philadelphia the best administration they
have ever had. Mr. Blankenburg's success after
years of patient effort and repeated defeat should
serve as inspiration and encouragement to re
formers everywhere.
When the marshal served the summons on
Mr. Carnegie in the anti-trust suit the latter
gave the marshal an autographed photo as a
souvenir. Did a burglar ever treat a sheriff
that way? And Mr. Rockefeller greeted tho
marshal with, "I am glad to see you," Did a
constable ever receive such a greeting from a
man arrested for petty larceny? If we had a
president who would enforce the 'criminal law
against the trust magnates they would not joke
about it.
"Equity Series," the national organ for the
Initiative and Referendum league, says: "Ohio
has a democratic governor. The platform on
which he was elected declared for the initiative
and referendum. He served his term without
lifting a finger for direct legislation. He has
now been re-elected. The prospect for him do
ing anything for direct legislation during his
present term seems no better than during his
past term. He aspires to the presidency. Let
us look elsewhere for our presidential timber,
until the leaders in Ohio appreciate and join
the nation-wide movement for more power in
the hands of the people."
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