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Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 22, 1919

Senator Hitchcock’s newspaper is getting worried about who Omaha will offer as a gubernatorial candidate next year. It is a safe bet our mayor will be side-stepped at the convention.

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The fact that the entire country has gone “dry” does not appear to interfere with the little game known as “bootlegging.” Fifteen bootleggers were on hand Monday morning in police court.

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After awhile Omaha people will begin to appreciate what the Woodmen of the World is doing for our city. Also what  great, big man is W. A. Fraser.

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Mr. Shotwell says he can find no way to punish food profiteers in Douglas county. He is about the only county attorney in the country that feels that way.

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Some large department stores attempted to corner up the stock of government stores in Omaha, but did not get away with it. One big concern had to return a big consignment of blankets.

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The policemen have organized to secure an increase in pay. It is about time. The firemen got away with theirs – why not the police?

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The attempt of landlords to squeeze the tenant is being looked into. It is about time. A lot of these vicious landlords were preparing to inaugurate a system worse than that in vogue in England.

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There appears to be no lack of rottenness in Omaha, despite the worthy effort of Police Commissioner Elmer Thomas.

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Mr. Ringer will return to the city next week to assist Superintendent Thomas of the police department.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 22, 1919

The time has just about arrived for Uncle Sam to take the bull by the horns in Mexico and settle that vexatious question once and for all. The continued depredations by itinerant Mexican desperadoes on American people has become so exasperating that it cannot be overlooked for a great length of time.

The exploitation of Mexico by Americans in recent years has had a bad effect in some instances, but as a general proposition it has been a good thing for the country. Mexico covers a very wide area and has not had a responsible head for a decade. The natural result has been that the machinery of government has decayed and become almost useless as power to police the various states.

What is required in Mexico is a power similar to the power that civilized the Hawaiian and Philippine groups and brought to them stable government. Sooner or later that power will have to be furnished by some substantial nation that can enforce its dictates for good and stable government in Mexico.

Our people have taken much from Mexico and tried to get along with the people of that country. Mexico has not progressed like other new countries, either in education or the art of government. On the other hand, it has decayed. Far-seeing men, with an eye to developing the natural resources of that country, have invested great sums of money. It is too late to stop the advance in that development.

When the Mexican is educated to decent living, to the value of thrift and to the necessity for advancing instead of declining, then and not until then will that country progress. It has just about come to the point where Uncle Sam will be forced to take a hand in bringing about a stable government, even if it takes an army to do it.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 22, 1919

No Attempt by City Officials to Curb Vicious System of Rottenness; Growing Up in Last Eighteen Months; Elmer Thomas Gets Share of Easy Money.

When the legislature adopted a law intended to do away with the old system which made prostitution possible it was believed the question had been solved for good. In Omaha, the metropolitan city of the state, the old “red light” district became a thing of the past and the bad hotels were very well cleaned up by the city administration then in office.  It remained so until the people decided to make a change.

Today, under the so-called reform administration, Omaha has more prostitutes, more pimps, more bootlegging, more police court cases, more disregard for law in one day than under the old administration in a week. Police court used to close daily at 11 o’clock at central station. It seldom cleans up now before 1 o’clock in the afternoon, with many cases going over until the following day.

All of this goes on despite the fact that Elmer E. Thomas, acting police superintendent, superintendent of police and city prosecutor, at $300 per month, is daily on the job. Thursday Elmer sat in court for three hours, apparently waiting to hear some hardboiled eggs tell their story of grief. Suddenly the case of a handsome woman, charged with bootlegging, came up and he fronted for her. She was dismissed and, arm in arm with her, he left the court room.

Up and down Sixteenth street, in half a hundred cheap hotels, in many second-class hotels and scores of cheap dumps, some of them isolated, and in numerous so-called “rooming houses” in the residence district, the underworld has been turned loose. The system has become so well organized that honest family life is almost tabooed in hundreds of localities in the city. In our “best communities” the ill-governed houses ply their trade, with bootleg whisky and well dressed members of the demimonde entertaining the vicious element that once confined its activities to Ninth street.

Practically all of this condition has sprung up since the present city administration came into activity. Our good church people have quite overlooked this condition, in their zeal to follow the advice of persons posing as reformers, while they were in reality trying to ingratiate themselves into the operations of the bosses controling the petty grafting system by which these unfortunates exist. Absolute evidence of police officers being paid for protection has been recently unearthed, but no action has been taken against the offenders.

Matters have become almost intolerable for the better class of our people and the present movement for a change is the result. There is a recall movement on  and it is being fought bitterly by those who have secured a taste of graft and are willing to prostitute all decent government to maintain the system recently organized.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 22, 1919

Mr. Ringer’s $300 Assistant Says Many Names On Petition Are Illegally Entered

Desperation Seizes Officialdom

Recall Petitions for Four Councilmen Throws Big Scare Into Elmer Thomas’ Forces; Prepare to Use Every Legal Means for Its Defeat.

Every effort known to political chicanery is to be used to defeat the recall petition out for four city commissioners – Ringer, Smith, Ure and Towle. That has been shown during the last week when the first attack on these petitions was made. The World-Herald has seen fit to make itself a party to the scrap.

The protestants, led by Elmer Thomas, $300 per month superintendent of police (ex-officio), have undertaken the checking of these petitions. Up to date it has been discovered that fourteen persons are illegally registered, if the check engineered by “Police Superintendent” Thomas is correct. It is alleged by the checkers that several times that number is nearer the proper figure. Their statement may be correct.

This is the first time the recall has ever been attempted in Douglas county. The gentlemen who prepared and had signed these petitions took good care to see that the proper number of bona-fide voters signed it. They understood that, in such an undertaking, a considerable number of names would be discarded because of changes of address, duplication and other such contingencies. The law makes the same provision. As a matter of fact, nearly half of the registered names could be thrown out and still enough would be left to make the petition legal.

The object of the men who are protesting the petition is not against the sufficiency of the petition, in fact, but they are looking for some excuse to prevent the recall proposition actually going to a vote of the people of Omaha. It is a cold turkey proposition.

There has been a very general dissatisfaction with the manner in which the municipal government has been operated under the present regime. The people have become disgusted in a measure uncomputable. They have asked for a recall of the officials they believe are responsible for the conditions now existing, in opposition to the general principles of what is considered the proper government of this cosmopolitan and metropolitan city. They have asked, in lawful form, for a recall for those officials. A hired man, paid a salary of $300 per month by men with ulterior motives, is attempting to stop the action of the law.

The last two or three months has shown beyond question that the men in office have done everything in their power to promote the position of the “squeezers” as against the common people. The abortive food profiteering investigation has been a farce. While cities like Chicago were sending profiteers to jail, Omaha has been hanging a medal on them. This has been shown during the last week when hungry citizens have flocked to food sales to save themselves from highway robbery.

It is everlastingly too late. When this recall petition came on to the market a bunch of interested city commissioners immediately showed themselves in front with an alleged investigation. Last Monday it was shown that city warehouses and cold storage plants had enough food in them to last the city five years. No arrests were made. No person was forced to sell his holding for the benefit of the people. On the other hand, a superficial examination was made, reports received and, not in words, but by action, the profiteers have been told to shoot right along.

And these same city officials are attempting to retain office by alleging that some 150 signers to the recall petition out of nearly 7,000 are irregular.

Get the idea?

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 15, 1919

Will Be Filed With City Clerk at Once to Be Checked Up; Election Commisioner Says Only 3,936 Petitioners Are Needed.

Intimations last week that Election Commissioner Morehead might rule the recall petitions out because of an alleged lack of signatures had the effect of holding up the filing for a week. The question of how many signatures were necessary to make the petition legal appeared on the surface a week ago, but since that time the election commissioner has denied that it will be held up on what was threatened to be a serious technicality.

The petition is now ready for filing and will contain about 7,000 names when it is presented for certification. As stated last week, the recall election must be held not more than sixty days after the petition is filed. The city clerk is the official entrusted with the handling of the petition and the action that will bring about such an election. Billy Hunter, city clerk, will be the man to attend to this duty. Hunter is an appointee of the present city administration, but the law governs his course, which is made plain.

The job of checking 7,000 names is not a small one, as has been learned by Attorney Lones, who has had a force on the job for some time, getting it ready for filing. The city clerk has ten days in which to do the checking. He will then certify the petition to the election commissioner. That official is empowered to call the special election. He can take not less than thirty nor more than sixty days. The election commissioner is not considered favorable to the recall and it is expected that he will not make an extraordinary effort to have an early election.

It may be said of Mr. Morehead, however, that he has been fair in his rulings and it is not believed that he would arbitrarily attempt to delay an election in such an important matter. It is, therefore, fair to expect an election within the next six weeks, barring court action by those effected.

The actual number of signers necessary to perfect the recall is 3,936, according to the law. The petitions thus far have been signed by practically 7,000 voters. Of this number it is estimated that possibly 1,000 names may be deducted because signers have changed residences without registering these changes with the election commissioner. All of them, however, will qualify before election time. That will still leave a margin of at least 2,000 more names than are needed.

There has been considerable political wire-pulling at the city hall since this recall business started. Party lines have been drawn to a certain extent with the result that Ringer, Ure and Towl are said to have formed a political combination against Mayor Smith. In other words, this big three is preparing to ditch the “big four” combination.

Whatever may come of this double-crossing business, the fact remains that the personnel of the majority of the present city commission has become a nonentity in the eyes of the public and it is going to make one of the best fights that Omaha has had along political lines for many years.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 15, 1919

Something About Bunkoing Coal Dealers Want to Join in Big Profiteering Hold-up Going On In This City; Stock of Coal Greatest Ever Known.

Joing the merry crowd of grafters and profiteers the coal men have combined to make monkeys out of the heat consuming people of Omaha and have attempted to do away with the city coal yard. Let it be said, without mincing words, that Dan Butler has, without soliciting anything, made for himself a place in the Hall of Fame by holding down these coal robbers in past years. He is going to continue to do it in the future. It doesn’t matter whether you like Dan Butler or not, and he apparently does not care, but he has made a lot of Omaha people happy by crucifying the coal barons and profiteers.

That is why Butler got that big vote the last time he was sent back to office. Laying politics aside, Butler has the right notion. Besides that, he has the guts to go through with it. Some other of the city commissioners have tried to throw cold water on the municipal coal yard, but not a single one of them has enough nerve to front for a proposition that will do away with that yard.

Omaha coal dealers want to join the food speculators, the real estate robbers and the other H. C. L. thieves, but Butler is holding them down. This paper has not agreed with Butler n a lot of things he has done, but he has the right notion about how to handle the coal thugs. If Mayor Smith would go after the rental robbers like Butler has jammed the coal barons of Omaha he would be the most popular man in Omaha.

So far as the coal situation is concerned, the country never had as much nor as cheap coal as it now has. It is one commodity the war has not adversely effected. The production has kept well above normal, while the consumption has fallen far below normal. There never was so much available coal. Of course, railroads and miners’ wages have had some effect but that effect has been covered two or three times in increased prices already. Coal is the one item of living that is reasonably normal and the only thing that can make it more expensive in Omaha is to cut the municipal coal yard.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, August 15, 1919

The plan of the railroad brotherhoods for taking over the railroad properties of the country is a straightout adventure into soviet economics. It contemplates collective ownership, but class operation and control, which is at the foundation of the soviet system.

The American people, through their government, are to buy the railroads from the private owners and turn these properties over to the railroad employes to manage and operate. In consideration of an investment of approximately $20,000,000,000 the government is to appoint one-third of the directors, and the public is to share in such savings in the cost of operation as may remain after the employes have paid themselves what they think their services ought to be worth. The spirit in which the program is put forth may be inferred from a statement made by B. M. Jewell, acting president of the railroad employes’ department of the American Federation of Labor, in which he said that if President Wilson’s suggestion to congress was carried out “we will tie up the railroads so tight that they will never run again if that legislation is passed.” It might have been Trotzky himself speaking to a bourgeoisie that had offered mild and academic objections to being despoiled.

Before any railroad plan can be worked out, one highly essential fact must be established – namely, whether the sovereign power of the United States is vested in government and in the American people or whether it is vested in the railroad brotherhoods.

For three years now the brotherhoods have assumed that the sovereign power was vested in them, and congress has provided them with excellent reasons for that assumption. When the railroad employes in the critical period of the summer of 1916 demanded an eight-hour day and threatened a general strike, President Wilson sent a message to congress in which he urged that the eight-hour day be made the basis of work and wages, but he made four other proposals, one of which called for –

An amendment to the existing federal statute which provides for the mediation, conciliation and arbitration of such controversies as the present by adding to it a provision that in case the methods of accommodation now provided for should fail, a full public investigation of the merits of every such dispute should be instituted and completed before a strike or lockout may be lawfully attempted.

Congress refused to enact this legislation becasue the labor leaders objected to it, and now we have a situation in which a labor leader can threaten to “tie up the railroads so tight that they will never run again” if congress presumes to pass an act to which the brotherhood autocracy objects as unequal to its imperative demands.

The railroad brotherhoods have embarked upon a policy that even the most conservative of them must admit is economically revolutionary. If their scheme of nationalization under that class control is to be carried out in respect to railroads, nobody can draw the line where it shall stop untill all industry is under soviet direction. Yet they are not putting their program out as a matter to be discussed and deliberately considered by the American people. They are trying to force the issue and bring about a revolution by ultimatum.

In the last three years the railroad employes have received hundreds of millions of dollars in wage increases for which the general public is paying. As a reward for its generosity the country is to be taken by the throat and choked into submission if the most complicated economic issues that have ever confronted it are not settled forthwith. If there is any difference between that kind of arrogance and the arrogance of the German general staff in July, 1914, we should like to know what it is.

The legislative branch of the United States government long ago degenerated into a congress of cowards. It may prove to be as subservient to the brotherhoods as it has been to the Anti-Saloon League; but if the American people can be kept forever choked into a state of submission by private organizations taking over the functions of government, the United States might as well apply for the appointment of a receiver first as last. New York World

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