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Must-watch video: Duckworth rips “injured” contractor to shreds

Thursday, Jun 27, 2013

* Military Times

Braulio Castillo broke his foot in a prep school injury nearly three decades ago at the U.S. Military Preparatory School, which he attended for nine months before playing football in college. He owns a technology business certified as a service-disabled, veteran-owned company eligible for government set aside contracts.

* Castillo testified in Congress this week and Tammy Duckworth was having none of it

Castillo’s VA doctors gave him a 30 percent disabled rating; he never saw combat. Duckworth wasn’t pleased. It was clear Castillo he was in for a rough ride when Duckworth started off by asking him, with faux politeness, if his foot hurt, before describing her own phantom pains. But the tensest moments come late in Duckworth’s time:

    DUCKWORTH: Do you feel that the 30 percent rating that you have for the scars and the pain in your foot is accurate to the sacrifices that you’ve made for this nation, that the VA decision is accurate in your case?

    CASTILLO: Yes ma’am, I do.

    DUCKWORTH: You know my right arm was essentially blown off and reattached. I spent a year in limb salvage with over a dozen surgeries over that time period. And in fact we thought I would lose my arm, and I’m still in danger of possibly losing my arm. I can’t feel it, I can’t feel my three fingers. My disability rating for that arm is 20 percent.

* What follows is an absolute must-watch video of one of the greatest takedowns I’ve ever seen

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Pete - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:21 pm:

    Is Tammy’s beef with the VA / DOD, or with Mr. Castillo?

    Mr. Castillo isn’t making the rules, you know.

  2. - Nieva - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    I am not a big Duckworth fan but wow!

  3. - Fan of Cap Fax - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:27 pm:

    Bravo, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, Bravo! This brought tears of pride and joy to my eyes. A true American standing up for her state and country. Thanks, Representative Duckworth!

  4. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:28 pm:

    Seriously Pete, you defend a loser like this?

    You must be a loser just like him, looking for some kind of a way to legally cheat the system.

    What a disgrace.

  5. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:30 pm:

    ===you defend a loser like this?===

    I don’t think he did.

  6. - transplant - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:31 pm:

    Well said, Tammy!

  7. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:34 pm:

    - I don’t think he did. -

    I don’t really know how else to interpret his statement. It seems pretty clear to me that Duckworth has a major beef with Mr. Castillo, and rightly so.

  8. - Pete - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:34 pm:

    “Seriously Pete, you defend a loser like this?”

    Thanks for the ad hominem, Mr./Ms. Liberal.

    Hate the game not the player. If the DoD/VA assigned this guy 30% disability, and the IRS is handing out contracts to people who are assigned a disability rating, then SHAME ON THE DoD/VA.

    Duckworth should be using some of her uber military mojo to implement a review process within the DoD/VA to check for old / fraudulent / obsolete cases, rather than grandstanding in front of the cameras.

    Shame on you, Tammy…you should know better. Please do your job.

  9. - Old and In The Way - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:35 pm:

    What would Joe Walsh have said?

  10. - Semper Fi - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:35 pm:

    I am glad to see that Rep. Duckworth blasted this contractor for gaming the system however there is a lot of fraud that is occurring with these set aside programs and congress must change the rules so they are not taken advantage of.

  11. - JR - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:36 pm:

    Pete, her beef here is with Mr. Castillo. The VA/DOD make the rules, but the rules have to be based on doctor’s reports and verification of medical procedures.

    He gamed the system by having an incompetent, paid-off, doctor confirm his so-called injuries in order to defraud this country.

    She said in the beginning she intends on closing the window on these type of fraud.

  12. - Old and In The Way - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:36 pm:

    Pete-What color is the sky in your world?

  13. - OneMan - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:37 pm:

    When I saw that Proft tweted about this and complemented her on it, it had to be good…

  14. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:39 pm:

    Loved Chairman Issa’s comment, “the time was well spent.”

    When you’ve lost Darrel Issa, you’re in pretty deep.

  15. - Ben Marc*m - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:39 pm:

    That was FANTASTIC!!! Well done Tammy!

  16. - Jake From Elwood - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:39 pm:

    Duckworth eviscerated this guy. Wow.
    If this came from any other run of the mill congress critter it would not have meant as much.
    This guy is the poster child for the problems with the disability system.

  17. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:41 pm:

    - Thanks for the ad hominem, Mr./Ms. Liberal. -

    Thanks for proving it wasn’t an ad hominem, loser.

  18. - VonKlutzenplatz - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:41 pm:

    You need to watch the full tape, where Castillo talks about his injuries sustained in service to his country.
    No matter who makes the rules, that was pretty sickening.
    And it was clear from the tape that Tammy was not just attacking this guy but attacking a system that awards somebody like this a 30 percent rating.

  19. - Empty Chair - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:42 pm:

    Duckworth aside, this is a large part of the problem with Congress. Hearings are mostly used to make spectacles and to get press. Duckworth’s service is honorable, but, unlike what Issa says at the end of the video, I don’t understand how it’s “time well spent.”

    This isn’t legislating, it’s showmanship.

  20. - Been There - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:42 pm:

    Wow that was great

    ===If the DoD/VA assigned this guy 30% disability, and the IRS is handing out contracts to people who are assigned a disability rating, then SHAME ON THE DoD/VA.===
    Well he did get notes from his doctor. Much the same as many people get doctor notes from their friendly doctors to get prescriptions they probably shouldn’t have. And one of those doctors he actually mentioned just happens to have a kid who attends the same school he hurt himself at.
    It may be a problem with the system but, as Duckworth said, that doesnt make it right and he should be ashamed of himself.
    At least he should keep his head down the next time he goes to the country club.

  21. - VonKlutzenplatz - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:47 pm:

    Empty Chair,
    Seems like showing that there is serious abuse as to who benefits from programs designed to help disabled vets is a real part of the job of Congress, and not just “showmanship.”

    Good hate though.

  22. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:53 pm:

    ===Shame on you, Tammy===

    OK, I retract my earlier remark. Pile on.

  23. - Pete - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 3:54 pm:

    “And it was clear from the tape that Tammy was not just attacking this guy but attacking a system that awards somebody like this a 30 percent rating. ”


    Perhaps she should resign from Congress and take a high level job at the VA and reform the system out so abuses like this don’t sully the reputation of our real war heroes.

  24. - Amalia - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:01 pm:

    just because a government agency decides to be stupid by letting someone take advantage does not make the person without guilt.

    awesomely done, Cong. Duckworth. Tammy, you are hitting it at 11 here!!!!

  25. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:02 pm:

    Pete: I would only respond that just because someone is eligible to game the system does not mean that they should. It might have crossed his mind that holding himself out as a disabled veteran resulting from injuries sustained playing football in prep school was a disservice to those vets who suffered injuries in a war setting.

    Empty Chair: If it helps to draw attention to misapplied preferences for veterans, then I am all for it. If she had used a smaller stick in beating Castillo, I’m not sure any of us would ever know that this abuse was taking place.

  26. - VonKlutzenplatz - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:02 pm:

    Pete apparently does not believe that Congress has any role overseeing the executive branch.

    That an interesting perspective.

  27. - second street - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:02 pm:

    Was his injury a a broken foot or a twisted ankle as Ms Duckworth kept saying? She clearly wins the “I suffered more than you” contest but he didn’t have much of a chance to defend himself. Maybe she should go after the VA doctors who gave his that rating?

  28. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:03 pm:

    Perhaps she should stay right where she is and continue her stellar work.

  29. - in the know - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:03 pm:

    not a fan of duck worth but that was awesome and well deserved!

  30. - Aldyth - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:06 pm:

    Well done, Representative Duckworth. Very well done, indeed.

  31. - Ummmm - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:06 pm:

    As one who takes multiple medications for serious and chronic pain a offer a pix on both those houses being discussed here.

    After living with wicked pain for so long I could never try to claim mine is worse or I deserve more (or they deserve less) because I’m worse off.

    I see the charge of lying paid off doctor- who’s the doctor ? What’s his name? Her name?

    Seems to me that showmanship and grandstanding are in full force here. If there is wrongdoing then refer the complaint to law enforcement. Tammy’s self comparison is petty and comes off as whining. Is she more than 20 percent? Of course. Such is the diktat of ATBITRARY government control.
    Maybe the real problem is indeed quite removed from her and him after all. Eh?

  32. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:13 pm:

    Ummmmm: Not sure it was a disagreement about who was suffering more pain or was more disabled as much as it was about the circumstances of how the injuries were sustained. I would agree that a system that allows a prep school football injury to be given the same prefernce for contracts as an injury suffered in combat is nothing other than wrong.

  33. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    If Congressman Duckworth is giving a class how to take a witness down, where do I sign up?

    That was a buzz saw.

    - Pete -, “Shame on Tammy…”


    If you can’t see the context of the “discussion” and why Ms. Duckworth took this gentleman down to the mat, no one is going to be able to help you.

    ===Mr. Castillo isn’t making the rules, you know.===

    Oh, true, just like Mr. Castillo should not be surprised when he is called out on “following the rules”…

    ===Hate the game not the player.===

    Dopey! So gaming the system is “kool”, just not being called out and embarraaed by a memeber of Congress on it, that ain’t cool?

    ===uber military mojo to implement a review process within the DoD/VA to check for old / fraudulent / obsolete cases, rather than grandstanding in front of the cameras.===

    “uber militaty mojo”? Is that a slam or a comic book line?

    “grandstanding” - I think Ms. Duckworth has earned th right being elected by her District, and by her military service to the country to ask any question about this subject, wethere you like it or not …ub or uber even!

    ===Perhaps she should resign from Congress and take a high level job at the VA and reform the system out so abuses like this don’t sully the reputation of our real war heroes.===

    Use a “search” engine of your choice, find out her background. Maybe she believes, no, she probably knows, that to make the changes needed, she needs to be exactly where she is at.

    The “uber” is snappy! Can you just use it as an adjective anywhere … like …


  34. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:17 pm:

    Pete, what don’t you understand about Congressional oversight? Sounds like you have something personal going on there?

  35. - Trooper - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:19 pm:

    Thanks for posting this Rich. My father in law injured his knee in 1970 jumping out of a helicopter into a hot LZ in VietNam. He never reported it because “we were a little busy getting shot at”. For 40 years he dealt with pain until he had to have surgery and now wears a brace. He never tried to get a disability %. He always said if the VA would pay for the surgery it was enough for him, there were others that needed the money more. If he knew the others included the likes of Mr. Castillo he may change his tune.

  36. - DanL60 - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:23 pm:

    That clip made my day. Not in her political corner but lockstep with her on this.

    Brilliant, just brilliant!

  37. - Publius - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:25 pm:

    My father was injured in combat in Okinawa in WW2. Eligible for thirty per cent disabilty, he never claimed benefits. Worked all his life never mentioning the disabily. That was what made those guys the greatest generation. Don’t think they did it so some schmuck could game the system. I am not a fan of Tammy Duckworth, but it turns out it is good that she is in Congress.

  38. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:32 pm:

    My uncle who was career Army turned down a Purple Heart because while he was injured during a sniper attack in Viet Nam, he was not wounded by the sniper. He apparently hit his head on something while ducking, and you know, head wounds. They bleed. According to this doofus, maybe Bob should have invalided out of the service and lived off the government dole the rest of his life.

  39. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:33 pm:

    Mr. Castillo has no other links to the U.S. military other tan the prep school. So based on this service Mr. Castillo tells the VA in his application process, “These are crosses that I bear due to my service to our great country and I would do it again to protect this great country.”

    No, no gaming to see here, thank you.

  40. - Liandro - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:43 pm:

    This is one area where Rep. Duckworth had every right–and indeed responsibility–to use her military experience. This “gaming” of the disability system is a huge problem, and it damages a very important system that should be serving people like Trooper’s father-in-law up above.

    Sure, hate the game…and those who play in the dirt instead of cleaning it up. Carry on, Representative.

  41. - Downstate Illinois - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:48 pm:

    I like that fact that he was still able to play college football after the high school accident. I know football can cause disabilities, but didn’t realize the disabled could play college football. What a wonderful world we live in.

    I’m not a fan of Duckworth, but this was good.

  42. - Jim/Springfield - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 4:49 pm:

    “Duckworth should be using some of her uber military mojo to implement a review process within the DoD/VA to check for old / fraudulent / obsolete cases, rather than grandstanding in front of the cameras.Shame on you, Tammy…you should know better. Please do your job.”
    Pete: Duckworth could not have done a better job in bringing attention to the shameful ways of this cheater. We need more like here to change the system.

  43. - redleg - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 5:02 pm:

    As a veteran of combat and occupation, I say good for Ms. Duckworth. Well done!

    What Castillo allowed himself to be a part of is an insult to the rest of us.

  44. - Bill K - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 5:05 pm:

    Every gov program is overflowing with far worse abuse then this disturbing case. How ironic to see a liberal address these abuses. Where has she been? 40% on food stamps has not raised her attention but this has!

  45. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 5:14 pm:

    @Bill K:

    Please. If you have evidence of all of this abuse then bring it forward. We can all talk in anecdotes but they mean nothing without some hard data. I have no doubt that fraud occurs but it doesn’t occur anywhere close to the level that hysterical people like you bloviate about. And this isn’t just a “liberal” issue but I know it makes some of you feel better to regurgitate these nonsense labels because you think it makes your “side” look good. I dare you to ask Congress to fix some of the loopholes and other stuff out there to reduce some of this abuse and see where it gets you. Every congresscritter has some interest in keeping whatever loopholes are out there. How do you think they got there in the first place?

    Oh, and by the way, do you want to know why there are so many people with LINK cards? It’s the economy stupid. People like you don’t have an issue with fraud. You have an issue with social welfare programs in general.

  46. - Fan - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 5:16 pm:

    I have new found respect for Ms. Duckworth. That was awesome.

  47. - Wensicia - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 5:17 pm:

    Rep Duckworth is a fantastic spokeswoman for all disabled veterans of true service to their country.

  48. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 5:19 pm:

    Kudos to Rep Duckworth for taking this guy to task while at the same time pointing out the totally unacceptable way in which these disability percentages are applied. And, this guy deserved everything he got for even suggesting that he thought his rating was ok as he was speaking to a soldier who got her limbs blown to kingdom come in combat. This guy has no scruples.

  49. - Excessively Rabid - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 5:19 pm:

    Seems like Castillo clearly had this coming and more, but I’m troubled by this kind of performance in Congressional hearings. It’s like what McCarthy did. It’s also like what a lot of other current members do, including Issa. Maybe that’s why he cut her some slack - it’s his style. Anyway, just understand they can call you in and take you apart whether you deserve it or not. Castillo did but that doesn’t make it any less abusive.

  50. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 5:20 pm:

    Oh and Bill? Having a D behind one’s name doesn’t make one a liberal. Do try to keep up.

  51. - Wensicia - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 5:29 pm:

    ==Castillo did but that doesn’t make it any less abusive.==

    Castillo is the one abusing the system; it’s not abuse when Duckworth forcefully calls him out for it.

  52. - mokenavince - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 5:34 pm:

    A complete and utter ass kicking. A perfect example why these set asides don’t work . We always get someone who wants to game the system.

  53. - FormerParatrooper - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 6:42 pm:

    The VA should re evaluate Mr Castillo. I did not know that prep school injury qualified for a disability rating. VA disability I understood was for combat and combat training injuries that were considered in the line of duty.

    I was fortunate, after 21 years and 6 combat tours from Panama to Iraqi Freedom, I was not injured in combat. I did manage to break both kneecaps on a night parachute jump. Pavement doesn’t absorb shock.. On my 37th birthday I was conducting physical training with my platoon a month after we returned from OIF and had a heart attack. Combat was safer for me.

  54. - Anon - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 7:27 pm:

    It’s funny someone should mention “grandstanding”.

    Everyone here seems to support Ms. Duckworth for her actions. That (to me, anyway) is why politicians grandstand. Look at the outpouring of support here for Duckworth.

    Only the crackpots are critical of her actions.

  55. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 7:45 pm:

    –Only the crackpots are critical of her actions.–

    No, crackpots love grandstanding by other crackpots. Surely you must have noticed.

  56. - Happy Returns - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 8:07 pm:

    Oh, boy, I haven’t watched yet, but…this is gonna be good!

  57. - Bill K - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 8:11 pm:

    In response to my critics. Her voting record makes her a liberal, Not the D next to her name.
    ! in 17 Americans draws a disability benefit from Social Security and they have a backlog of cases that is record breaking. 1 in 4 is on food stamps. When all Gov disability recipients are combined from the Post Office, Military and Social Security and Municipal services the number is staggering! THE SAFETY NET IS NOW A HAMMOCK.

  58. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 8:17 pm:

    Well, anyone who’s ever heard her speak before this Hearing, know that the Congresswoman, as the old saying goes, is “one tough cookie,” and she surely proved it there again! It’s great to see that she has “tackled” D.C. (pun intended to Mr. 30%) like Ray Lewis on a Q.B.-Sacking Mission from God! Thanks for sharing the clip, as Ms. Duckworth surely made her point “loud and clear” that milking the system for undeserving Federal benefit$ has to stop while others who have truly been on the front lines and tragically injured must wait. And as she’s a U.S. Rep. from our Home State, whether you live in her District or not, we can all stand a little prouder today. And though it’s deeply saddening to learn that she daily suffers from not have feeling in three of her fingers and stabbing pain in her feet due to her own serious battle injuries, she’s sure got ONE thing in perfect working order–and that’s a lot of “Guts”–to say and do the right thing!!! Hats off Congresswoman!

  59. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 8:40 pm:

    –1 in 4 is on food stamps.–

    Bill K., the number is 47.8 million out of 314 million.

    I make that 15%, not 25%. And $4.45 a day for the average recipient is hardly a hammock.

    It’s a very large number, nonetheless, that tracks poverty. SNAP began to spike with the Great Crash, as did unemployment, foreclosures, and criminal prosecutions of bankers (just kidding on that last one).

    At its peak (hopefully) SNAP represented 0.5% of GDP.

    But if you’re really concerned about the rise in SNAP, be sure to hook up with Rep. Fincher of Frog Jump, TN, the leading proponent on the House Ag committee in tossing the working poor off the program, even misreading the Bible in justification.

    Rep. Fincher is also leading the battle to retain direct federal farm subsidy payments, of which he personally has received $3.5 million since 1999.

    Now that’s a hammock.

  60. - Happy Returns - Thursday, Jun 27, 13 @ 8:48 pm:

    It did not disappoint. I felt sorry for him until she started reading his letter about the ‘crosses he bears’.

  61. - Anon - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 6:18 am:

    OMG! Tammy for President! Woooooo!

  62. - Dan S. - Friday, Jun 28, 13 @ 8:44 am:

    Just because something is “legal” does not mean that is morally correct. Thank you Rep Duckworth for pointing that out. Castillo is a scumbag for legally playing the system.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Mariners shut out White Sox, rubber match Wednesday vs King Felix
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* Mariners shutout White Sox, rubber match Wednesday vs King Felix
* Renteria tossed arguing called third strike
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* Renteria tossed arguing called third strike
* Renteria tossed arguing called third strike

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