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Duckworth Destroys Dude
June 26, 2013 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Braulio Castillo began winning hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts with the IRS within months of founding his technology company Strong Castle in early 2012..

Business insider reports :
Castillo attended a prep school affiliated with West Point Military academy for one year in 1984. After he sprained his ankle in training, he dropped out. He later enjoyed a career as a college quarterback at San Diego State University.

He went 27 years without claiming any benefits affiliated with his military service, until his company acquired a company called Signet Computers and he sought a government contract.
He then used his "injury" for favor in winning government contracts.
"My family and I have made considerable sacrifices for our country. My service connected disability status should serve as a testimony to that end. I can’t play with my kids because I can’t walk without pain. I take twice daily pain medication so I can work a normal day’s worth. These are crosses that I bear due to my service to our great country. I would do it again to protect this great country. Part of my reasoning for my line of work is that I can continue to support the US federal government. My ask is that you certify me, my company, so that my sacrifices and investments are for not [sic] and that I can provide for my family. "

Tammy Duckworth - the recently elected Illinois representative who lost both legs and most of the use of her right arm - took full advantage of a recent opportunity share her thoughts on his business acumen..
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt (82 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. That was awesome. I had no idea Rep. Duckworth was this impressive.
posted by gen at 6:58 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


> The committee told the IRS about their findings several months ago, but officials there said it would be too disruptive to cancel a contract worth $260 million.

Says all you need to know, doesn't it? No justification as to why we the taxpayers should be paying a quarter of a BILLION dollars to someone who clearly isn't getting the job done - it's just "too disruptive".

I'll bet that this gets 1% of the play of the completely made-up and inconsequential "IRS scandal" we just had.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:59 PM on June 26, 2013 [22 favorites]


I closed the browser tab when I heard "Republican Darrell Issa"
posted by rustcrumb at 7:03 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well you should reopen the tab and watch the video.
posted by Benjy at 7:04 PM on June 26, 2013 [12 favorites]


There have been claims of subjects being verbally destroyed in the last few weeks but they don't even come close to this. I'm sitting here repenting all my sins hoping she doesn't come after me next. How did he even qualify as a veteran? Also I didn't know there was a difference between high school and prep school.
posted by bleep at 7:05 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know what, I don't even care. The money is disappearing down a black hole no matter what. Better to hand it out in the streets than spend it on whatever they intended to spend it on.

I say we all get our fat government contracts and look at funny cat videos all day.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:08 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


That kind of prep school, generally, is where rich people's children who fucked around in high school go to pad their applications/get their shit together so that they don't also fuck up their legacy admission.
posted by Benjy at 7:08 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I say we all get our fat government contracts and look at funny cat videos all day.

I can't believe I just said that. I sound like a reddit libertarian. This Obama thing got me shook.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:10 PM on June 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


As a proud Illinoisan, I have to say: Yup, she's one of ours.

(We don't get to be proud about our politicians much. I hope you understand.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:14 PM on June 26, 2013 [23 favorites]


I am grateful that we are a country of laws and not a place of vindictive, medieval justice.

But I still kind of wish they'd let Tammy Duckworth run him over with her car and show him what a real goddamned disability is.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:15 PM on June 26, 2013 [21 favorites]


> Better to hand it out in the streets than spend it on whatever they intended to spend it on.

Handing it out in the streets would be fine by me. Rewarding fraudsters is pretty well the worst possible use of the money.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:16 PM on June 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's not enough that he got a dressing down - people like him need to be jailed. I know ... I know.... get in line ....
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 7:18 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Holy hell, she's giving him both barrels. This is amazing to watch.
posted by jquinby at 7:20 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, if you use just slightly warmed pine tar, you don't get the serious injuries that boiling pitch caused when tarring and feathering people.
posted by codswallop at 7:20 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Tammy Duckworth restored my faith. Duckworth 2016.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:23 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


"You may not have broken any laws..."

Man, once she said that, he tuned waaay out. Very satisfying to watch, and I really hope that the book can be thrown at him for his actions, but he may still be laughing all the way to the bank at the end of this.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:27 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Handing it out in the streets would be fine by me. Rewarding fraudsters is pretty well the worst possible use of the money

I didn't realize what an outright scam this was until I watched the video. I figured at first it was just more "DAE IRS sux" right wing outrage.

I am back with the program after a brief moment of doubt.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:37 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Duckworth Destroys Dude

Does what it says on the tin.
posted by ShutterBun at 7:45 PM on June 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is nothing new (warning: lousy cert) or specific to the IRS. Everyone inside the beltway knows this has been going on, all over the place, for a long time.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:47 PM on June 26, 2013


I worked selling to government contractors for 5 years. I sold to dozens of service disabled veterans. Not once did one one of them show any apparent disability, certainly not anything that hampered their ability to run a company. Then again, I also can't count the number of times I sat around a conference table with the leadership of a woman or minority owned business, and every single person there was a 40-60 year old white guy.

The preferential contracting program had good intentions, but the I believe most of the money flowing through it is flowing to the same rich white guys that make most of the rules in this country.
posted by COD at 7:49 PM on June 26, 2013 [28 favorites]


Holy hell, she's giving him both barrels.

Nope, that's just the one. She already gave the other to her country.
posted by notyou at 7:50 PM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


" I had no idea Rep. Duckworth was this impressive."

Tammy Duckworth is the baddest-ass person ever to come out of the State of Illinois, and that assessment includes Al Capone, Michael Jordan, and Barack Obama. (But maybe not Lincoln. Figures of mythic power are tough to compare.)

I have been saying for YEARS she is amazing, since her very first race, and every time she comes up I'm like, guys, she is so great, you have no idea, and nobody ever believes it. BELIEVE IT.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:51 PM on June 26, 2013 [14 favorites]


Holy shit.

(That is all.)
posted by vitabellosi at 7:55 PM on June 26, 2013


Adding Duckworth to the list of women who deserve to be the first Woman President MORE than Mrs. Bill Clinton.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:59 PM on June 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


For a hundred thousand dollars per word, I too will let Tammy Duckworth berate me.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:00 PM on June 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Duckworth's Tea Party opponent last race, BTW, spent a great deal of time complaining bitterly that she talked too much about being a veteran and that made the race unfair and she was just using her veteran status to get votes. (Duckwoth lost both legs and use of one arm flying combat helicopters in Iraq.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:04 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tammy Duckworth

I didn't even know. When she said in the video her feet hurt.....
posted by Ad hominem at 8:20 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


It really feels like all branches of government are conspiring to emotionally work me over the last 48 hours or so. God damn was that fantastic.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:28 PM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


"I'm talking. I'm up here."

I was with her right up till this point.
Just because you're a member of Congress doesn't mean you get to harangue people without interruption, regardless of how deplorable their actions.
posted by madajb at 8:28 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think it does mean that. It's one of the things you get to do.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:41 PM on June 26, 2013 [65 favorites]


You have been served by the best, Mr. Castillo. I hope you feel like crawling into a hole and dying. I hope you are ashamed to look your kids, your wife, and any veterans in the eye. I hope you feel like giving back every cent you've earned on your ill-gotten contract to benefit veterans everywhere. I hope, but I suspect you are as craven as your history suggests and will sleep on your pile of money quite comfortably. I can only hope that your children rectify this sin once your rotting corpse is disposed of.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:43 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just because you're a member of Congress doesn't mean you get to harangue people without interruption, regardless of how deplorable their actions.

She had a time limit she was working under, so she had to cut him off. If Issa wanted to be a douche, he could have stopped her right there.

Plus, I think if you're a disabled vet, advocating for disabled vets, in the face of a dude who faked being a disabled vet, you're allowed to be sort of an ass to them.

Because fuck that guy.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:44 PM on June 26, 2013 [50 favorites]


doesn't mean you get to harangue people without interruption

Yeah.. for good or for ill, you do kind of get to do that.
posted by edgeways at 8:44 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just because you're a member of Congress doesn't mean you get to harangue people without interruption

The dude was running out the clock with used car salesman grade bullshit, staying completely in character as "asshole who games the rules for personal benefit".

You get in that scenario you either say STFU or you get played like a fiddle like everyone else.
posted by crayz at 8:46 PM on June 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


I hope you are ashamed to look your kids, your wife,

I believe his wife was in on it with him.
posted by dobbs at 8:55 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


His wife appears to be the COO.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:59 PM on June 26, 2013


Holy shit. If you haven't watched the link yet, saying that Duckworth destroyed him is putting it mildly.
posted by azpenguin at 9:17 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is where the real power of being a Member of Congress (Senate included) resides. Debates on the floor aren't debates. Sometimes in Committee markups there is a back-and-forth. But you get a Member who is willing and able to be prepared and focused so as to effectively engage a witness--then they can really serve their constituents, and the people in general. Hearings are perhaps the only unscripted, unvarnished, potentially surprising and productive aspects of Congress. It's the real quality Members who know how to use them. Real legislative service is a performative act.

That smile she gives at 1:15? Man, if you're a staffer, you live for that.

Too bad Durbin is not going anywhere and Kirk is so young and moderate. Although, that's ok. We need strong people in the House. Even Republicans are giving her props for this one. Issa prompting her on "prep school" instead of high school means either he and his staff fed her the information on the witness and helped her load up for bear, or they collaborated in some way. Since the linked video is on Issa's channel, that is likely the case. And that's ok. Bipartisanship, at this point, is an unmitigated good as long as it is not in the interest of screwing folks over. I hope she settles in for a long career punctuated with many moments of similar stellar performances.
posted by oneironaut at 9:26 PM on June 26, 2013 [10 favorites]


This is where the real power of being a Member of Congress (Senate included) resides.

I'm sorry, but - real power? Calling out millionaires for a scolding? It's satisfying to listen to, sure, but are there any actual consequences happening here? I don't see any (non verbal) punishment, nor anything to keep this guy from winning even more contracts in the future. That's the power of Congress?
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:21 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


are there any actual consequences happening here?

Sometimes (sometimes) shame is a greater motivator to avoid wrongdoing than actual consequences.

That being said, more jail time for this sort of thing, please? Surely we've got some guys busted for pot possession who'd be willing to give up their cells?
posted by ShutterBun at 10:32 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't see any (non verbal) punishment, nor anything to keep this guy from winning even more contracts in the future. That's the power of Congress?

Did you miss the part where she said he'd shown that there's room for improvement in the legislation and so she'll be looking into changing the law? Sure, that's not much more than a scolding for a shitty asshole but it's definitely the power of Congress.
posted by carsonb at 10:58 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh god, I'm getting revenge fantasies and they won't leave my head.

I'm a teacher, though, so mostly the "revenge fantasies" involve me keeping his kids after class some sunny Tuesday and showing them this video, and saying "remember where that money comes from that your dad gives you."
posted by GoingToShopping at 11:16 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't see any (non verbal) punishment, nor anything to keep this guy from winning even more contracts in the future.

His company has been stripped of the HUBzone certification that he was using to get the contracts.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:18 PM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry, but - real power? Calling out millionaires for a scolding? It's satisfying to listen to, sure, but are there any actual consequences happening here? I don't see any (non verbal) punishment, nor anything to keep this guy from winning even more contracts in the future. That's the power of Congress?

Although others have given apt replies, what I meant applied to hearings in general. They are woefully underused and underattended (look how many empty seats there are in the video, for example). Folks like Sen. Levin know (soon to be knew, unfortunately) how to use them to great effect, but I fear it is a dying art. A Member who is willing to step out and be forceful and real--especially in the YouTube age--can shine a bright, and in this case searing, light on scoundrels, liars, and blowhards; they can also have fascinating, informative, and productive conversations with experts.

Hearings are the principal fact-finding tool of Congress, and it is used less and less to do so. When legislation is passed, especially major legislation, it typically includes a report of the legislative history, which includes the hearings held on the bill or policy area it deals with, and what the result of those hearings are. That legislative history and evidence of fact finding is very important if a law is challenged in court--judges, and eventually Justices, will (or should--the Supremes have disregarded Congressional fact-finding and legislative history egregiously lately, e.g. Citizens United) look to the legislative history to see how thorough the fact-finding was, what was learned, as well as what the intent of Congress was when drafting and passing the legislation.

Also, the videos don't do justice to what it can be like in a hearing room. A Member turning on you like that can be extremely intimidating. Since many hearings require a swearing of an oath, testimony can be used in perjury trials. Also, hearings can produce memorable moments that can turn public opinion in decisive ways.
posted by oneironaut at 11:44 PM on June 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Duckworth: Mr. Chairman, I'm sorry, I've gone ...You've been very indulgent [unintelligible]

Chairman: I thank the [unintelligable] lady. The time was well spent.

Heh...
posted by Chuckles at 11:49 PM on June 26, 2013


Also, hearings can produce memorable moments that can turn public opinion in decisive ways.

In that vein, you can't leave out Mr. Rogers being, well, Mr. Rogers and John Denver basically saying the exact opposite of what people expected from him, eloquently and poetically.
posted by madajb at 11:59 PM on June 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sometimes (sometimes) shame is a greater motivator to avoid wrongdoing than actual consequences.

Not when one is a sociopath.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 12:05 AM on June 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chairman: I thank the [unintelligable] lady. The time was well spent.

I believe he said 'gentlelady'.
posted by dumbland at 12:18 AM on June 27, 2013


Yeah, totally badass...words.

But that is the extent of what will happen to the dude...fuck that.

It's just hard for me to watch this, and think 'makes a great fpp, but will not bother his sleep at all'.

Sigh.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:29 AM on June 27, 2013


I believe he said 'gentlelady'

Ahh, thanks! Channelling Humphrey Appleby?
posted by Chuckles at 12:43 AM on June 27, 2013


"Says all you need to know, doesn't it? No justification as to why we the taxpayers should be paying a quarter of a BILLION dollars to someone who clearly isn't getting the job done - it's just "too disruptive"."

The theater of all of this, however satisfying, is still less important that the efficient stewardship of the resources of the People of the United States. Changing a quarter of a billion dollars in contracts is not like changing your phone service, and fucking up the IRS to make some kind of a point is maybe not the healthiest response. That said, from the front of their website now:
"What We Do
Strong Castle, Inc is a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)
"
Fuck this guy.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:53 AM on June 27, 2013


Thanks for expanding, oneironaut. I've been overlooking or at least discounting the power of public opinion, which is yet another reason why it's a good thing I'm not involved in politics.

I've seen many good tirades delivered during Hearings over the years: hearings after 9/11, hearings after the outing of Valerie Plame, hearings after the financial collapse, hearings after deep water horizon, hearings about health care, hearings about climate change, hearings about same sex marriage, and on and on. Sometimes they're very satisfying to listen to. I'm partial to when Al Franken gets really worked up during testimony, myself. SNL's Weekend Update also used to be satisfying to listen to.

But I always considered real power to be legislation, or the enforcement of legislation, at least the introduction of legislation, or an investigation that forms a basis for a suit or criminal charges. I've gotten jaded on the concept of Hearings as power because it seems like commentary delivered in a Congressional Hearing Room has about the same effect as a monologue delivered from behind The Desk of the Daily Show.

I recognize that the legislative process is not completely divorced from public support, so maybe I should give more weight to the utility of Hearings for affecting that. I just bristled a bit at the idea of them being an end result, a goal. They should be the prequel to exercising power, the foreshadowing of power, not the extent of power. "Sure got a lot of social media coverage with that video clip" wouldn't be enough to make me proud satisfied with my representative; I want actual legal outcomes: votes won, bills passed, charges laid. That's power.

But now that you've pointed it out, there are ways I could try to consider Hearings as more than just political theatre. Hopefully. So thanks for that.
posted by ceribus peribus at 1:06 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


She was a lot less angry and mocking and insulting than she should have been. I was cheering her on, but I wanted her to really rip him a new one.

If no laws were broken then it seems to me that the law itself is broken.
posted by three blind mice at 1:11 AM on June 27, 2013


So this guy is obviously a fraudster.

But, isn't the bigger question, how he received the disability rating? How was it approved in the first place?

I doubt this is an isolated case.
posted by fruit sandwich at 1:27 AM on June 27, 2013


The programs are frustrating because they represent an affirmative action system to help minorities, veteran-owned businesses, and especially service-disabled veterans, which, the latter two especially, are noble causes. But then you have this asshole literally playing the "old football injury" card to gain SDVOSB certification and pushing himself to the top of the pile.

She alludes to this in her dressing down, but he had claimed earlier that others were using that designation against his business, so it appears he essentially took the "if you can't beat them, fake an injury and link it to 'service' so that you can join them" route, which is disgusting.
The committee told the IRS about their findings several months ago, but officials there said it would be too disruptive to cancel a contract worth $260 million.

Says all you need to know, doesn't it? No justification as to why we the taxpayers should be paying a quarter of a BILLION dollars to someone who clearly isn't getting the job done - it's just "too disruptive".
In fairness, the issue here isn't Strong Castle delivering or failing to deliver the goods and services they were contracted for, or the fact that $250M seems like an extraordinarily high valued contract. The issue is that Strong Castle mis-represented themselves as a SDVOSB in order to move to the head of the pile so that the agency could meet their quotas.

In government RFPs/RFQs/IFBs, they will specifically call out that special considerations (or even full-blown set-asides, like most of SC's contracts) are given to businesses with small business, minority-owned, or veteran-owned designations, for instance.

In their own written testimony, they do claim:
1. First, it is not true that Strong Castle received $500 million in IRS contracts. Strong Castle has successfully competed for Blanket Purchase Agreements pursuant to which the IRS may or may not issue subsequent orders to Strong Castle. In reality, Strong Castle has received contracts from the IRS valued at approximately $50 million in total. Of that amount, approximately $49 million has gone to Strong Castle’s suppliers and other partners, and approximately $1 million has gone to Strong Castle. Last year, Strong Castle lost approximately $138,000. Strong Castle's losses this year will be even greater due in part to the costs of defending the GAO protests and cooperating with this investigation
If the company is a supplier of computer parts and equipment, as their bragging about winning the IRS Blanket Purchase Award for PC Equipment and Accessories indicates, this is, at the very least possibly true.

They are clearly using some fancy accounting to declare a loss, in any event. But again, the concern wasn't that they weren't delivering what they were contracted to deliver (which is a very real problem that happens all the time as trillions of dollars flow into a gaping beast called Leviathan) but that they were misrepresenting themselves to gain a certification that would grant them preferential treatment in the bidding process, which is disgusting.

I will say this, though: I understand the temptation. Look at this page. This is the "Interested Vendors List" for a similar contract to the one they brag about on their website. (They're not listed for this one, as best as I can tell.) Notice the Business Types column.

I run a small business. And that's it. I'm white. I'm male. So I get to claim "small business." And for-profit organization. Hard to win any contracts when the set-asides prefer something like this:
Minority-Owned business, Self-Certified Small Disadvantaged Business, For-Profit Organization, Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business, Women-Owned Small Business, Woman-Owned Business, DoT Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, Black American Owned, Contracts and Grants, S Corporation, SBA Certified Hub Zone Firm
I have a pretty great life, and I understand the privilege that growing up middle class and a white male have afforded me. But when literally 90%+ of the interested vendors have minority, women, and veteran owned claims on that list, you start to wonder. (And I've heard of plenty of people organizing their business in a "clever" way so that, say, their mother or wife "owns" the business so that they can claim woman owned. Even though the true owner is supposed to be materially responsible and present for the operations of the business.

But it's absurdly poor oversight and a drunken, wanton spending of taxpayer dollars with little real control in place, even though procurement processes exist exactly to combat these sort of issues. Frustrating bureaucracy "at work".
posted by disillusioned at 1:27 AM on June 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


Tammy!...You go girl!
posted by quazichimp at 2:27 AM on June 27, 2013


Wouldn't anyone else who bid, and was passed over due to the fraudulent claiming of preferential status, have standing to sue Strong-Castle?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:44 AM on June 27, 2013


I believe he said 'gentlelady'

Ahh, thanks! Channelling Humphrey Appleby?


It's standard form. "Now recognizing the gentleman from Iowa", or "As was stated by the gentle lady from Pennsylvania..." Members are formally addressed by their representation, in other words, rather than their names. It would be a breach of protocol to say "Ms. Pelosi" or "Mr. Boehner".

And if you don't know by now, Duckworth had to withstand withering criticism from Republicans, even though she's the epitome of who they say should be running the nation -- those who have sacrificed themselves on the battlefield. Too bad she didn't get to use her hearing powers to make those guys squirm.
posted by dhartung at 3:14 AM on June 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hm. 'Lady' is generally taken to be the female equivalent of 'gentleman'. If you wanted a word of the same form it would be 'gentlewoman'. 'Gentlelady' is novel and a bit weird. 'Gentle lady' is fulsomely polite, but not equivalent to 'gentleman'. The male equivalent of that would be... 'gentle lord'?
posted by Segundus at 3:40 AM on June 27, 2013


Sometimes (sometimes) shame is a greater motivator to avoid wrongdoing than actual consequences.

And as others have alluded to while regretting that this will probably not attact the same amount of attention as the IRS non-scandal, shame is much more effective at Getting Things Done when you have a capable and informative media that's ready to broadcast that shame to the world. Otherwise, this is just another internet video lost amid thousands of adorable kitties.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:19 AM on June 27, 2013


It's especially gratifying to realize that Duckworth replaced Joe "Not The Cool Guy From the Eagles" Walsh.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:37 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I'm talking. I'm up here."

FTW.
posted by chavenet at 4:44 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Adding Duckworth to the list of women who deserve to be the first Woman President MORE than Mrs. Bill Clinton.

I'm not sure how referring to her in relation to her husband helps equality, which is supposedly the point of electing the "first Woman President".
posted by ersatz at 4:54 AM on June 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


I know a bunch of people who work for small defense contractors. EVERY SINGLE ONE does sketchy, marginally legal stuff to qualify for the women/minority/disabled preferences in government contacts. I do think they have lawyers and stay within the letter of the law. But you see stuff like a company with 20 male software engineers and 21 female college interns so the company has majority female employees, and the nominal CEO is the founders' wife (who happens to be black and has a completely different fulltime job) all the time.
posted by miyabo at 5:33 AM on June 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


And I've heard of plenty of people organizing their business in a "clever" way so that, say, their mother or wife "owns" the business so that they can claim woman owned. Even though the true owner is supposed to be materially responsible and present for the operations of the business.

This comes up in the news in IL all the time, usually in the context of someone crossing the line and going to jail.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:58 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just for the record, Rep. Duckworth is not eligible for the Presidency. She was born in Thailand.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:00 AM on June 27, 2013


I wish I had strong, sensible representatives like Tammy Duckworth..... instead, I've got a governor (McDonnell) who has accepted a $6,500 Rolex, $15K for catering his daughter's wedding, another $15K for a NYC shopping spree for his wife, and much much more in 'non-political gifts' from his biggest donor; as well as a tea-party Attorney General who is trying to drag us back to the glory days of the 1930s, when men were men, women knew to keep their little heads out of menfolks' business, and people of color knew their place.

I know you love her, DirtyOldTown, but it's time to share: Duckworth 2016!
posted by easily confused at 6:13 AM on June 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't understand this rush to send people to the oval office. Sure, the President's important and stuff, but the government is a big machine, and it needs excellent people in all parts.
posted by Imperfect at 6:41 AM on June 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Just for the record, Rep. Duckworth is not eligible for the Presidency. She was born in Thailand.
That's debatable--her father was American. Lots of folks argue that Obama would be eligible for the presidency even if he had been born in Kenya, since his mother was an American citizen.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:45 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


This week has been a great showcase of strong and exceptional women in politics.
posted by cmfletcher at 6:52 AM on June 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't anyone else who bid, and was passed over due to the fraudulent claiming of preferential status, have standing to sue Strong-Castle?

I don't know anything about these issues, but I would think that prevailing on that fraud suit would be much more difficult than it looks. Castillo really is receiving military disability benefits from this injury, and he really does have doctors backing up his story. He really did suffer an injury (a twisted ankle as a teenager) and he really is receiving military disability benefits. I bristle at the insinuation that playing football at a military-associated prep school counts as service connected activity, but that may well be how the letter of the law describes it.

Again, I don't know anything about these kinds of issues, but wouldn't the VA have to go after Castillo first? Could the VA really proclaim retroactively that his claim has always been fraudulent, based on the evidence available to it? Even then, could it be that this scheme has always been technically within the letter of the law, at least so long as you could never prove collusion? I genuinely don't know.

The best way to fight people like Castillo would be to change the laws now, for negotiations going forward. It's obvious that well-intentioned mechanisms are being gamed.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:08 AM on June 27, 2013


And I've heard of plenty of people organizing their business in a "clever" way so that, say, their mother or wife "owns" the business so that they can claim woman owned.

G. Gordon Liddy who as a felon is prohibited from legally owning guns always jokingly refers to "Mrs. Liddy's firearms."

There is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. In the case of disabled veterans it would seem that the letter of the law bears very little correlation to its spirit - the law itself is disabled.
posted by three blind mice at 7:11 AM on June 27, 2013


That's debatable--her father was American. Lots of folks argue that Obama would be eligible for the presidency even if he had been born in Kenya, since his mother was an American citizen.

Perusing 8 USC § 1401, I think that her mother would have to have been at least an alien as well for that to work?

Either way, I second the motion that not every good politician needs to be the President. I'd rather have a majority of good congresscritters and a "meh" President, than a great President but only a minority of good congresscritters.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:13 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


That kind of prep school, generally, is where rich people's children who fucked around in high school go to pad their applications/get their shit together so that they don't also fuck up their legacy admission.

The United States Military Academy Preparatory School is a government-run and -funded school designed to get people (mostly recruited athletes and prior-service enlisted service members) up to West Point's rigorous academic standards. That's more or less the only way he would qualify, even on paper, as having a service-connected disability.

The number of "rich people's children who fucked around in high school" at USMAPS is vanishingly small -- they have better things to do than enlist in the Army, and no athlete recruited to play at West Point couldn't have obtained a scholarship at a school that won't automatically lead to being in the Army (e.g., San Diego State).

Castillo is an utter dickbag, but there's no reason to drag USMAPS into the mud to illuminate his post-"service" dickbagedness.
posted by Etrigan at 10:23 AM on June 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


That was great. I’ve never heard her speak before.
posted by bongo_x at 11:34 AM on June 27, 2013


Why Is Tammy Duckworth’s Disability Rating So Low?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:52 AM on June 27, 2013


Why Is Tammy Duckworth’s Disability Rating So Low?
Duckworth notes that she has a lower VA disability rating of 20 percent, despite having had both her legs blown off and losing significant use of her right arm, when her Blackhawk helicopter was shot down.
No, what Rep. Duckworth said was, "My disability rating for that arm is 20 percent." (emphasis added).

The VA gives overall disability ratings and ratings per injury or illness. There is no doubt in my mind that her overall disability rating is higher than 20 percent, but she was illustrating that her extensive injuries to that one limb earned her less of a disability rating than his clearly less extensive injuries to his one limb.
posted by Etrigan at 12:07 PM on June 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Late to the party, but I am now officially in love with a few female politicians this week; Representative Duckworth, and Texas State Senators Wendy Davis, Judith Zaffirini, and Leticia Van de Putte.
posted by dejah420 at 12:22 PM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, Tammy Duckworth is a complete badass. And humble too.
posted by disillusioned at 12:12 AM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I had a dollar for every instance of some middle-aged white suit gaming the laws for profit that I've personally witnessed, I'd have a lot of goddamned dollars. It's the sordid underbelly of business that everybody knows exists, no matter how much flag-draped praise they bestow on our sainted business class.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:32 AM on June 28, 2013


Sorry, but this is one of those things that is so evident it's mindblowing that the country, as a whole, is so blase about it. Ms. Duck worth is right - every dollar that leaves the system due to game-playing is literally stealing food from all our collective mouths.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:38 AM on June 28, 2013


For what it's worth: the minimum requirements to be US president are to be born a US citizen and to be at least 35 years old. Tammy Duckworth is fully qualified.

It doesn't matter WHERE a person is born, whether in the US, in Kenya or Thailand or (in John McCain's case) in Panama. Duckworth's father was a US citizen and so is she --- Obama's mother was a US citizen, so, even if you don't believe he was born in Hawaii, he qualifies.

It doesn't matter WHICH parent was the US citizen, as long as one was. Alternatively, merely being born in the US (the so-called 'anchor babies) confers US citizenship, even if neither parent is a citizen.
posted by easily confused at 1:16 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


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