The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, April 01, 1915, Page 2, Image 2

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The Commoner
VOL. 15, No. 4
Mr. Thomas will examine the law under which
liia corporation Is organized ho will not And
among the enumerated rights granted to the Le
high Valley railroad the right to interfere with
politics. No corporation created by law Is grant
ed, the right, directly or indirectly, to conduct a
political campaign. Not only is this right not
granted, but we have a statute speciflclally deny
ing this right to corporations. "We have a fed
eral statute which makes it a PENAL OFFENSE
for corporations to contribute to the campaign
fund of a political party a statute made neces
sary by the use of corporate funds for political
purposes. If President Thomas Is forbidden by
Taw to take one dollar from the treasury of his
railroad to advance his own political opinions or
those of his official associates, what right has he
to use ton millions of dollars for political pur
poses. Ho might as well contribute the sum to
tho campaign fund as to use It as a club to in
timidate the voters of the country.
President Thomas is a survival of a departed
ago. He is a sort of plutocratic appendix for
which thoro is no present use.
Fortunately for the country tho power of such
men as President Thomas has been largely re
duced by tho new currency law which deprives
the Wall street group of the means it used to em
ploy to coerco the nation. Mr. Thomas will find
that tho public is in no mood to tolerate a con
tinuance of the arrogant and insolent methods
by which the managers of tho largo corporations
have been in the habit of dominating both busi
ness and politics. He will get a little advertis
ing by being put in the class with President Un
derwood of the Erie and Banker Leach of the
Investment Bankers' association, but it will not
be a notoriety that will be permanently pleasing
to him. W. J. BRYAN.
Washington correspondents say that the big
republican politicians are seriously considering
Senator Root as the next presidential nominee'
because they believe Colonel Roosevelt might be
induced to accept the man he thought so much
of that he made him his secretary of state. Just
how far Mr. Root would get as a nominee may
be determined by recalling that he Tefused to
run again as a candidate for the senate from
New York because he did not have sufficient
faith in the intelligence of the rank and file, who
now name senators, to believe they could act
Wijh discrimination. Imagine a man who holds
to that opinion appealing to the average Amer
ican voter.
a - '
When the government policy of conservation
of natural resources was first established, west
erners who had seen their neighbors grow rich
from the free use of government lands and who
feared they would not be able to enjoy a like op
portunity, protested vigorously. The annual re
port of tho government chief forester, made pub
lic not long ago, states that after eight years'
trial, stockmen are well satisfied and that over
nine million sheep an.d cattle were pastured last
year on fbrest reserve lands. The government
received a million dollars for the grazing priv
ileges. Those protests that were bottomed on
elfish greed were apparently justified.
' 'A beet sugar factory in Nebraska, in settling
its accounts with growers at the end of the re
cent financial year for that business, found that
it had made so much money that its owners vol
untarily paid to tho growers 50 cents a ton more
than they had agreed at the beginning of the
planting season. The beet sugar factories of the
country, it will bo remembered, were all to have
been compelled to close down as soon as the dem
ocratic tariff law went into effect because nobody
wduld be found to grow the raw material for the
; prices they could afford to pay under the new
T,he democracy of Iowa has an opportunity to
led the fight for prohibition in that Btato and
,lt must either lead or follow, unless it is pre
pared to retire into obscurity for a decade. The
.wtloon . is. doomed tho business is an outlaw
Its crimes against society make it impossible for
any party to support it and preserve its self-respect.
Now is tho tjmo to indicate the party's
..claim to public confidence n.nri snrmrf mtrn
The liquor forces are organized and -will have
fffZSZ SVSW? flld- Surely
w.v mo uvwo wn not oe less activo
iXPnt onlv tho faithful n n-o iuvg.
r ,-. ..'.. ..,".. W. J.. BJRYAN..
The readers of The Commoner have doubtless
followed with interest the growth of prohibition
in Europe. The war is throwing a ghastly light
upon the evils of intemperance. Russia was the
first of the belligerent nations to realize the
menace of the traffic and she acted promptly and
with remarkable results.
Then came France, with the prohibition of ab
sinthe. The press dispatches report that her
legislature is now considering the entire liquor
question. Germany, too, has found restrictions
Now comes Great Britain with a terrific in
dictment. Lloyd George, one of the greatest
men who has appeared fn British politics' in re
cent years, is quoted as saying "We are fight
ing Germany, Austria, and drink, and so far as
I can see the greatest of thesethree deadly foes
is drink." He adds, "We have a great conviction
based on accumulating evidence that nothing but
root and branch methods would be of the slight
est avail." King George, in a letter which will
bo found on another page, expresses a willing
ness to set an example in total abstinence.
It is found that even patriotism, inspired by
the most pressing national needs, is not sufficient
to overcome the demoralizing influence of intem
perance. The war, awful as it is, will confer
upon the world some real benefits if it opens the
eyes of the people to the fact that the use of al
cohol is even more to be feared than the slaugh
ter of the battlefield. If, as Ms estimated, the
people of the United States expend on liquor
each day one-tenth of the cost of the war now
raging in Europe, what is the cost of drink to
the belligerent nations? When it is remembered
that thisrcost is CONTINUING while war is only
Intermittent, is it strange that public sentiment
is rising against the liquor t:affic?
The high position which the United States oc
cupies in the family of nations is shown by the
fact that while other neutral nations are placed
under suspicion as being willing to barter their
neutrality for territory, no voice has been raised
to accuse the United States of any attempt to
make capital out of the misfortunes of others.
The high standard of neutrality set by President
Wilson at the very beginning of the war has
been steadily maintained, and the various notes
that have come from other countries whenever
a dispute has arisen have each paid their mead
of praise to him for his steadfast adherence to
the policy he first laid down.
Those republicans who have been, celebrating
what they term democratic hard luck in having
a European war interfere with the workings of
the administration program already enacted into
law are advised to wait awhile. It will be over
a year before the next presidential campaign will
be in full swing, and there is every reason to Re
lieve , that business conditions, under the new
freedom given commerce, will be so good that
the republicans will have to abandon calamity
as an issue.
With imports running lower than they have
for many years, due to the prostration of indus
try abroad and the conversion of many merchant
vessels into supply ships for war vessels, the
country is now, for all practical purposes, oper
ating under a prohibitive tariff. The wall is one
that war, not legislation, has erected. If any re
publican tries to tell you thr.t whatever depres
sion exists is due to the democracy being in
charge of the nation's business, cite this fact to
him and you will wait in vain for an intellicent
answer. b
The New York Telephone company has re-
nSSGnrtJates that wiU Produce a saving of $3,
000,000 a year to the people of that city. A
voluntary reduction? Oh, no. It was put into
effect only after public-spirited newspapers- had
made a hard fight and the legislature was show
ing signs of taking a hand in the matter. Public
service corporations have learned a good manv
lessons, but that of voluntarily doing what thev
should do is not included in the number
i i J,,,,,
of TG ha?,d of Evidence is seen in the affairs
of this nation. If the Wilson administration had
not pushed thrbugh congress a currency bllUhat
gave a long-needed mobility to our bank ng re
sources the European war would have laid waste
the business area of this entfre country. Unto
Sf,iSy lefm n'VOgUe in past yeara this country
could not have escaped the worst panic in Its
History, when Eurppe began calling, for gold.
The United Kingdom's liquor bill for 191 q TOn
higher than in 1912, and the total for 1914 wa
above 1913, according to unofficial figures tS
totals in 1913 and 1912 were: The
JUJa -$833,405,000
In the latter year the expenditures on defense
f :; $138,245,000
Wavy -$230,200,000
Thus the drink bill more than doubled the
combined army and navy expenditures
It appears from the statistical abstract of the
British empire, a government work, that tho
consumption per capita of spirits and beer in the
last year under observation, 1909, measured in
gallons, was as follows in the United Kingdom
compared with other great countries:
,. . Spirits. Beer. Wino
United Kingdom . ...'..0.70 20;2 027
Germany . . . . .- i.58 g2.0 ijo
rance ' 1.32 7.9 34.5
Russia , . . . . 1.10 .
United States 1.14 10.5 0.49
Not counted.
In 1013 tho average expenditure per head for
the year for drink was $18.10.. The average per
family of live was $00.50.
The average per head is highest in England,
lower in Scotland, lowest in Ireland.
The total consumption of drink, in gallons, in
the United Kingdom in the year was as follows:
MaJt liquors, gallons 1,307,314,800
Wines, gallons . . .. 15,200,400
Spirits, gallons 40,078,000
The government revenue in 1913-14 from ex
cise duties amounted in the United Kingdom to
For 1014-15 the duties are estimated by tho
government at $198,250,000.
From the Washington Post.
Attorney General Gregory epitomizes the new
policy of the administration toward business in
his brief in the government's case against the
International Harvester company. It is, that
growth which comes by combination is unlaw
ful, but that which comes through better serv
ing the public than a competitor, which is growth
from within, is one to be encouraged. This is
only another way of saying that government
should forbid the exercise of any power to stifle
competition while it should encourage that
which encourages competition. Who questions
the soundness of such a proposition?
Prophecies, even by expert financiers, rank
little higher than those of ordinary individuals.
When the war storm broke, everybody was sure
that Europe would unload her American stocks
and bonds in the New York exchange, and to
prevent a panic the exchange was closed. It was
re-opened under restrictions dictated by extreme
caution, and the market s nbw open for the sale
of securities. Yet England is paying the great
excess trade balances against her with gold, and
not even offering promises to pay in the future.
The jitney bus has been throwing a tremend
ous scare into the street car companies of the
west. It is popular because it meets a need that
was waiting to be filled. The great .problem all
cities have to wrestle with is quick transporta
tion $t small cost. The Jitney may or may not
be the answer, but it seems to be an intelligent
effort toward a desirable end.
In an interview published in the Milwaukee
Journal, Senator LaFollette of Wisconsin is
quoted as follows concerning the plans of the
republican standpatters for the campaign of
"It looks now as-though the standpat repub
licans "will endeavor. to nominate a' candidate of
the most extreme reactionary type. They seem
to have regained confidence in their ability to
win, -and to be planning a campaign along their
own lines. President Wilson, I think, was
stronger some time back than he is now. When
the European war started,- there was a general
feeling of satisfaction that Wilson was president,
instead of someone who might have embroiled
us in this war. There has been a falling off in
business since the war started, however, and, of
course the administratioa . will be blamed by
those who are not ableto discern the real
; l.
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