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and consumers on the one side, and middlemen on the other met in a drawn battle a few days ago, and by. a far-reaching decision of the interstate commerce commission, the middlemen won. There is to be no more selling of produce from freight cars. The com mission decided that it is an act of pure benevolence on the part of the railroads to allow shippers to sell po tatoes, apples or anything else from the cars, and benevolence is not com pulsory. No matter if it DID sidestep the present roundabout method of dis tribution that puts everything through the hands of middlemen at extortionate profits—no matter if it DID put pro duce into kitchens of poor consumers at vastly lower prices than they would otherwise have to pay—no matter if the cars were turned back to the rail roads at the end of the "free unloading time" without any delay—it has got to stop. "The business of a carrier is trans portation, and its property may not be subjected against its will to a use not connected with transportation," says the decision. Prom this it would- at first seem that the problem was one of transportation, and that the transportation companies were being relieved of a great injustice by the decision. But in reality it is not a transportation problem at all that was involved. It was the problem of escaping the strangle hold of the food gamblers, the speculators who control every avenue through which the con sumers of the citfes can get the produce of the farm—the problem of escap ing that strangle hold OT having it more firmly set. WHO THE CHIEF BENEFICIARIES ARE That fact is shown by the parties to the suit. The case was brought by the Nebraska State grange against the Union Pacific railroad. The railroad wanted the right for farmers to sell direct stopped. The grange wanted it continued. Thus far it would appear a transportation problem, but what happened? No sooner did the Grange bring suit to compel the railroad to continue the practice of a quarter of a century, than in stepped the chief parties in interest —the food gamblers, food speculators and profiteers. Here is a list of them. The Nebraska-Iowa Fruit Jobbers association. Tariff Bureau of the Aberdeen (S. D.) Commercial club. Chamber of Commerce, Watertown, S. D. North Dakota Fruit Jobbers. Wiley & Morehouse, produce hand lers. Lagomarcino-Groupe company, pro duce handlers. Traffic Bureau of Sioux Falls, (S. D.) Commercial club. Western Fruit Jobbers association. Does that look like the matter was one of TRANSPORTATION? What transportation interests did these handlers of fruits and vegetables have? JThe fact is that the matter was one .. vital to the middlemen, and they in duced the railroad perhaps without much effort to deny independent ship pers the only avenue left by which they could reach the buying public direct. MUST NOT IMPOSE ON POOR RAILROADS And the interstate commerce com mission closed that avenue. Hence forth the middlemen will wax fat on profits from the business that has in the past been done from the car doors. Every bushel of those potatoes, apples and onions, every crate of cabbage, every water, melon will pay toll to the produce handlers who took sides with Harvest Machinery Begins to Hum This is borne out by the history of Minnesota during the Civil war. In 1860, just before the war started, the national government agreed to give the -state of Minnesota all the swamp lands within its border. The conditions of the transfer provided that the re ceipts from the sale of these lands should be applied to the expenses of reclaiming them. The "joker" in this grant was the stipulation that the field notes made by government surveyors should determine what lands within the state should be considered of a swampy character. Of course, under these terms, all that" a crooked surveyor had to'do was to report valuable lands as "swampy" and the interests scheming to get them for nothing could secure title under the pretense that they were "swamp lands." The Civil war broke out in 1861. While the attention of the people of Minnesota was diverted by the Harvest is well started throughout the Red River valley, and the low lands are returning some good yields, although back on the high land crops are shy. This is a 20-bushel per acre wheat field, near Glyndon, Minn. Save the Food Speculators! Interstate Commerce Commission Heeds Their Cry and Stops Selling Produce From Cars Direct From Producer to Consumer People Bilked During War Vast Tracts of Public Land Fraudlently Obtained During the Great Rebellion. AR times have always furnish ed great harvests for grafters. While the people have been watching the war, the grafters have made steals that they would -never have dared to attempt in peace times, when the people might be watching them.i xwar, which lasted until 1865, the Minnesota legislature was induced ta make the following grants: HUGE TRACTS GIVEN AWAY BY STATE 1861—Taylor's Falls and Lake Su perior (now St. Paul and Duluth) rail road, 91,830 acres Lake Superior & Mississippi (now St. Paul and Duluth) railroad, 694,399 acres McLeod county commissioners as trustees of Stevens seminary, 4,684 acres. 1862—Madelia and Sioux Falls wagon roads, 4,684 acres. 1863—St. Paul & Chicago (now Chi cago, Milwaukee & St Paul) railroad, 462,336 acres. 1865—Minneapolis & St. Cloud (now Great Northern) railroad, 425,664 acres Southern Minnesota railroad, 36,778 acres Minnesota Central (now Wis the railroads against the producers and consumers. For years it has been the practice of -shippers who wanted to escape the commission men and deal directly with their ultimate patrons, to sell all man ner of produce from car doors, to small merchants and consumers. Usually they did this work rapidly, for the pa trons were quick to see the point, and as eager to save paying extortionate profits as the middlemen were to get them. Usually all such carload ship ments were well advertised in advance, and the crowds were at the tracks clamoring for the produce. Generally the cars were unloaded inside the "free unloading time," but in those cases PAGE FOUR consin, Minnesota & Pacific) railroad, 275,000 acres Cannon River Manufac turing company, 24,190 acres. The total of these wartime grants was 2,019,585 acres. Nearly all were made to great railroad systems. After the war was over and the at tention of the people had been directed to the situation, the legislature dared to make only two of these notorious swamp land grants. In 1875 the Du luth & Iron Range railroad was pre sented with 606,720 acres and in 1881 the Little Falls & Dakota railroad was given 265,856 acres. This brought the total grants to 2,892,141 acres. RECORDS HAVE PROOF OF THE BIG FRAUDS And by this time the public was thoroughly awake to the steals that were being practiced. There were no more grants. The report of the Minnesota state auditor, 1916, states: "Attention has been called to the fact that these land grants were made in violation of the express provisions con tained in the grant, namely, that the receipts from the sale of swamp lands should be expended for reclamation purposes that out of 4,711,278 acres of swamp lands patented to the state, 2,885,635 acres had been disposed of by the state to railroads. "A confidential report has been made to the secretary of the Interior in re gard to their various charges, but as yet no action has been taken by the secretary except that no patents are forthcoming to the balance of swamp lands in the state of Minnesota." The records are full of charges and proofs of fraudulent surveys. Great areas which were reported as swamp lands were in fact high lands. In the Minnesota state auditor's biennial re port of 1913-1914 an account is given of an investigation conducted by the state auditor which convinced that of ficial that there were at least 48,245 acres patented to the Northern Pacific under the swamp lands grant -which belonged to the state. when they were kept over, demurrage rates were charged up to the shipper, and the railroad companies got aa much for their cars idle as they did for them in use. Under demurrage rates which the interstate commerce com mission approved last winter, the rail roads make on idle cars more than double what they can make by using them (and this may Account for the "car shortage" to a treat extent). But the interstate commerce com mission throws lall this aside. It says: "Nor are we able to accept the view that the 48 hours free time provided under the carriers' tariff to enable the shipper to unload the car, embraces a right in the shipper to open a public shop in the car during that time or that its further detention under de .murrage for unloading or for any simi lar transportation service, subjects the car and the carriers' track and station grounds to use by the shipper as a place of business with the public." BLOW AIMED AT DIRECT MARKETING There is the milk in the cocoanut— doing business with the public. The middlemen don't want anyone who grows crops to do business with the public. They want to compel him to do business with them first. They will attend to the public later. Doing busi ness. with the public is so popular, wherever the public gets a taste of it, that middlemen who render less service than they do hindrance in distribution, are kicked out. Just now there is a great hue and cry for economy. Clubs are being form ed to promote business without so much delivering. Fashionable women are touring the "poorer sections" tell ing housewives to carry home their spuds and soup bones. Save "man power," "save the men for war" and cut out "useless duplication of serv ices," are the slogans. The middlemen were afraid people would really take this seriously. They were afraid there would be greater stimulus to direct dealing between pro ducer and consumer. So they called in a court—the interstate commerce com mission is really a court of appeals—to stun this fad and bury it once and for all. The commission did' so. The commission, one branch of the government, knocked out one of the biggest results that another branch ot the government—the Hoover food dic tatorship—is seeking at enormous ex pense to accomplish. Under direct car door selling, cars were emptied by an eager public much quicker than they ever are emptied by commission hougfes. They were returned to transportation service sooner. Storage space in the commission houses- was saved. The labor of the freight hustlers was saved for other work. Multiple deliveries. were avoided. The housewives, and house husbands came with their baskets and took the stuff home them selves. The people who produced the food got more for it and the people •who bought it got more for their money. It saved man power and ener gy, of all kinds—but alas it prevented tat, fat profits!