The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 21, 1913, Image 1

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The Commoner.
VOL. 13, NO. II
Lincoln, Nebraska, March 21, 1913
Whole Number 635
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Senate Organization
The Commoner congratulates the democrats
of the United States senate. In democratic
caucus they prepared for the organization of the
senate on up-to-dato lines. Disregarding the
chains which champions of the "seniority" rule
would put upon them, they built their organiza
tion with an eye single to tho public welfare and
the accomplishment of the purpose of making
' the seno . what Senator Kern of Indiana calls
"democratic not only in name but in practical
In its issue of December 27th The Commoner,
I protesting against tho blight of "seniority,"
urged the organization of the senate upon
progressive lines: Following is an extract from
that editorial: "If it were a personal matter
tho new senators might prefer to yield to tho
older ones but a man who acts in a representa
tive capacity is not at liberty to be courteous
at the expense of his constituents. The demo
crats of the senate owe it to the party to mako
the senate organization represent the prevail-
t, ing sentiment of the party and thus enable it to
work in harmony with the administration, to
do this the rule of seniority should be Ignored.
Assignments to committees should be made upon
the basis of fitness and with a view to giving
faithful expression to the will of the majority.
No democrat is deserving of preferment who
nuts his personal interests above the general
welfare, If our party is to earn a long lease of
power it must regard the rights of the people
f, aB paramount. The same rule ought tb be ap
plied in tho house. THE COMMITTEE AP
P There is no good reason why hold-overs on the
ways and means committee should consider
themselves entitled, AS A MATTER OF RIGHT,
to appointment on the new committee. Tho
democratic caucus should feel free to select this
committee without regard to its present mem
bership ust as free as if the committee was
being selected for the first time and from mem
bers entering upon their first term. If a new
congress is to be bound by the committee selec
tions made by a former congress, tb change in
the rules will prove of doubtful advantage. If
tho rule of seniority is to bo Invoked in behalf
of the reappointment of those now on the com
mittee the selection of committees should bo
entrusted to a special committee whose existence
will cease when its work is done; and. whether
the right to recommend members for the vari
ous committees is conferred on the ways and
means committee or upon a special committee,
chosen for the purpose, the caucus should feel
free to reject any recommendations made. Tho
democratic party is pledged to the doctrine of
representative government the doctrine of
seniority Is destructive of both the theory and
tho practice of representative government."
Tho Nebraska house of representatives havo
passed the Fuller county telephone bill, a copy
of which is reproduced In another column of
this issue. Desperate efforts to defeat this
measure in tho senate are being made by tho
telephone lobby. Tho measure should bo en
acted into law. It will provide tho people with
tho means of protecting themselves from tho
exaction and schemes of powerful private tele
phone monopoly.
The criticisms offered against tho Fuller tele
phone bill wore well met in tho Inaugural ad
dress of Edward F. Dunne, governor of Illinois.
On that occasion Governor Dunne said:
"Tho solo aim of all private corporations, un
regulated by law, is to make money for their,
stockholders, and the most money can be made
by poor service at a high rate to tho consumer.
"The only question, then, Is whether tho
public shall own and operate through state or
local agencies, or whether it shall allow theso
utilities to remain in tho ownership and control
of private corporations and regulate them by
"After a caroful investigation, through funds
contributed by various vested interests, tho com
mittee on municipal v. private operation of
public utilities, appointed in 1906, by tho na
tional civic federation, reported nineteen to
" 'To protect tho rights of tho people, wo
recommend that the various states should give
to their municipalities authority, upon popular
vote, under reasonable regulations, to build and
operate public utilities, or to build and lease
the same, or to tako over works already con
structed. In no other way can tho people be
put upon a fair trading basis, and obtain from
the individual companies such rights as they
ought to havo.'
"In other words, this commission, of which
a majority at the start were strongly in sym
pathy with, or identified with private owner
ship, held tho right of municipal ownership to
bo more important than any form of regula
tion. "While most cities of Illinois may not bo
ready, as yet, to undertake municipal opera
tion of other than waterworks, legislation
should bo enacted immediately, giving all cities
the right to build or buy, and to operate their
utilities For this purpose, cities should bo
empowered to issue bonds, subject to a referen
dum and such other reasonable safeguards as
may be necessary. If such rights are given,
it will force private corporations, now furnish
ing these utilities, to give decent service at
decent rates, or face the alternative of public
Texas has ratified the amendment providing
for election of senators by popular vote. Mr.
W. A. Tarver of the Texas legislature writes:
"I am very glad, indeed, to have had the honor
to assist In the passage of this resolution ratify
ing tho amendment to the constitution of tho
United States providing for the election of
United States senators by the direct vote of the
people. I hope you will give to Texas due
credit for her action in this matter in your
next issue of The Commoner. Tho resolution
passed the senate some three weeks ago and
Texas was, therefore, one of the first states to
ratify tho amendment. Congratulations upon
tho continued success and usefulness of The
Commoner and its great editor."
Postmaster General Burleson has notified
newspaper publishers that the law requiring
that they give Information concerning their
ownership will be enforced. If they do not
comply with the law their papers will be barred
from the mail. This Ib an excellent law, and
Mr. Burleson does well to enforce It. Most of
the newspapers have complied with the law and
the very fact that some of them show disposition
to avoid it suggests good reason for the publi
cation. .'.,'...'.
Mr. Bryan dolivored a speech recently
undor tho auspices of tho Washington Y. M.
C. A. Ills remarks woro delivered In in
troducing J. A. McDonald, oditor of tho
Toronto Globe. In presenting Mr. McDonald to
his audience, Secretary Bryan said: "Emerson
wrote an essay on 'Compensation,' which mado
a deep Impression upon mo when I read it and
has often como Into my memory since. Evory
position that ono occupies, whether In privato or
in public life, has its responsibilities and Its
ploasuros, and I suppose that this represents tho
most pleasant part of tho position with which
I am connected. I am a connecting link be
tween the president and tho outside world, and
as such I supposo It Is not unfitting that I
should appear upon such an occasion as this.
This might be called a aeml-ofllclal appearance,
and my first In public. It Is fitting for several
reasons. First this Is an International associa
tion. Tho speaker on this occasion is a citi
zen of another land. That makes It appropriate
that ho should bo welcomed to this platform In
tho nation's capital by ono who represents tho
government In Its foreign relaltlons. It Is
extremely pleasant to mo to appear on this
occasion and bid welcomo to ono who Is not
only a distinguished citizen of a neighboring
country but is one whom I am glad to count
among my personal friends. If It woro proper
for mo to say so, I might tell you that ho stands
In Canada as Gladstone for so many years stood
In Great Britain, the representative of Chris
tianity applied to government. Tho fact that
he comes from a country so close to us gives mo
an added enjoyment. He comes as a represen
tative of a country, a neighbor, with whom wo
havo been at peace now almost ono hundred
years. Laurior, tho great premier of that coun
try for so many years, expressed a beautiful
sentiment. I can not use his exact languago,
but I shall not forget tho thought that his lan
guage expressed. When some one in his coun
try expressed a fear that closer commercial re
lations might suggest national unity, lift
answered that there was even a nobler idea than
a country continent-wide In extent. It was two
countries with but an imaginary line betwoen
and yet living as friends side by side with no
rivalry except in goodwill. But thoro is an
other reason why I am glad to mako this my
first appearance since the acceptance of tho
portfolio of state. It is because this is a re
ligious occasion. As I know of no foundation
upon which a moral code can bo built except
religion, so I know of no foundation upon which
remaining international peace can bo built ex
cept that spirit of brotherhood which tho foun
der of our religion taught us."
Writing In tho Louisville Courier-Journal,
Henry Watterson says: "Of the new secretary
of state it is not necessary here to speak. The
Courier-Journal has fully expressed Itself on
Mr. Bryan's assumption of that portfolio and
awaits with interest the consequences."
Is this another prediction that tho "democ
racy will march through a slaughter house to
a bloody grave?"
It Is probable that by tho tlmo ttiis issue of
Tlio Commoner reaches tho readers, twenty-nine
states will have ratified tho proposed constitu
tional amendment providing for election of
senators by the people. Every Commoner reader
living in a state where tho legislature is-now
in session, and where this amendment lias not
been ratified, should act as a committee of on
to urge members of his legislature to tak
prompt action with respect to the indorsement
ol tuts important constitutional amendment.
,-. Attend to this .duty immediately.