Monday, December 9, 2013

What A Difference Three Years (And Lots Of Campaign Donations) Make!

Scott Walker recently celebrated the holiday season by officially lighting the Christmas trees in the Capitol.  Mind you, he did it before the Capitol opened up in the morning so that he did not have to deal with the riff raff otherwise known as the public.

I'd expect that one of the people that had gotten a special invitation to the exclusive lighting ceremony was Jim Draeger of Langlade County,  who was the donor of the tree.  In fact, he must be one heck of a tree farmer, since Walker is taking numerous trees from him:
Every year the search is on for the best Christmas tree for the state capitol.

For the second year in a row, it's coming from central Wisconsin and will make its way from Antigo to Madison on Tuesday. It's 25 feet tall, almost 20 years old, and will soon sit in the state capitol.

"It's kind of heart warming to be selected," said Jim Draeger.

Draeger has been a Christmas tree farmer in Antigo for 40 years, and he says his prized pines are one of a kind.

"Never been picked to do something this high up, I guess that's the word," said Draeger.

Draeger is donating six trees all together. One, a 16-footer, will stand at the governor's mansion this holiday season.

State officials put the call out for a tree this summer and when they heard about Draeger's they came to check out his greenery in person.

"He looked at a bunch of the nurseries and and I didn't think anything of it. Then two weeks later he called me and said 'you have the best trees,'" Draeger told Newsline 9. “I said, 'I’m kind of proud and I’m glad you got good eye sight.'"
The article goes on to say that Draeger and his crew personally cut down the trees and hauled them with their own trucks to Madison.

What an fine example of a great, upstanding member of his community and of Wisconsin, right?

Well, er, not so much actually.

Draeger had some legal issues to deal with three years ago:
Langlade County resident James Draeger has been ordered to remove a road through wetlands on property in the Town of Peck, and to pay $28,000 in forfeitures, assessments, fees and costs for building the road without a water quality certification in violation of state wetland protection laws.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Wisconsin DNR jointly regulate activities in certain wetlands under a general federal permit. That permit requires that property owners notify DNR of proposed activities in the wetlands and obtain from DNR certification that the activities comply with state water quality standards.

According to a press release, Draeger had a road constructed through the wetland in November 2005. Draeger had not notified DNR of the wetland project, and he never obtained from DNR a certification that the project complied with state water quality standards. DNR staff investigated the project upon receiving a complaint about the road, and determined that the road did not meet state water quality standards. DNR staff also determined that the road did not qualify for a federal silvicultural exemption from permitting requirements.
Oh, my! Well, I'm sure that won't be an issue now that Walker and the Teapublicans have been systematically removing all the environmental protection laws.

When a friend of Cog Dis pointed out these two stories to me, it made me rather suspicious to say the least.

A quick check on the searchable database made available by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign shows that Draeger has been rather generous, not only to Walker but also the sociopathic nitiwit Tom Tiffany.

Gee, why does this not surprise me?

It reminds me of two other stories.

One was when William E. Gardner, former president of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, who had been convicted of a felony for making illegal campaign donations to Walker, was allowed to have a model of one of his trains circling the tree.  Already, Walker was feeling so cocky that he had the gall to flaunt his corruption openly.

The other is how Herr Environmental was allowed to pollute numerous drinking wells by spreading three times the legal amount of human refuse onto nearby fields and then trying to cover it up by cooking the books.  In that case, the company had none other than Mr. Lieutenant Governor, Joel "Pass the Sandhill Crane" Kleefisch telling DNR staff to make the whole thing just go away.

None of this should be surprising to the gentle reader.  I am sure that you have a general idea that this is the most corrupt administration an legislature in the history of the state.  The only question I would have regarding that is if any of us has a true grasp at the vastness and depth of that corruption.


  1. Can't wail till the big John-Doe is opened up. So we all can see the real corruption that is going on in this Great State of OUR's........

  2. My ultra right-wing nutso neighbor in Fitchburg has at least a half-dozen Christmas trees in her house.


    Christ would be so proud of those "priorities", right?