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Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Letter To Ann Romney

Dear Ann Romney,

Question:  What Does A Poor Woman With MS To Do For Therapy?
Answer: Tie A Sled Dog Team To The Front Of Her Bicycle And Yell "Giddiup!" And More Importantly, Would She Get A Tax Deduction?

About Ann Romney’s—And Other MS Victims’—Darkest Hour (those who have healthcare insurance, those who have very high deductibles, and those who may lose their jobs and be unable to get new healthcare insurance or a dressage horse:

A headline on ABC News’ website, about an interview there with Ann Romney, is “Mitt Romney's Wife, Ann, Calls MS Diagnosis 'My Darkest Hour'.” 

Unquestionably, that was a dark hour for her, and one that anyone can empathize with.  And, yes, it’s great that dressage helps her regain some of the ability to balance she lost due to her MS.

But here’s my question to Ann Romney and her husband: How much darker an hour does she think it is for someone who’s given that diagnosis and either has no healthcare insurance or has a very high deductible, or who now dearly fears the loss of his or her job, either because of the health problem or for other reasons, and who, for resulting financial reasons or preexisting-condition reasons—or both—may never again have health insurance if the ACA is repealed? Or be able to get a dressage horse.

I don’t think Obama, the DNC or Americans should shy away from asking this question.  Or from doing an ad in which someone in exactly that position asks it.

The DNC has apologized for using Ann Romney's London Olympics-bound horse in an attack targeting her husband.

It is claimed that Democrats had used the dressage horse to illustrate its claim that the presumptive GOP nominee was "dancing around the issue" of his decision not to release his tax returns. (Dressage is a dance-like sport, but on a horse. Get it?)

The problem? Ann Romney uses the horse for therapy related to her multiple sclerosis.

For what it's worth, the dressage horse, named Rafalca, apparently gets the Romneys a rather hefty tax credit. (Literally,  $77,000 a year.)

Does owning horses or houses somehow make you a bad presidential candidate?

That depends on how you got the money to buy the several dressage horses, each worth several hundred thousand dollars, and to buy the several houses, each worth several million dollars.  And on such things as whether or not you paid the full amount of taxes you owed, or instead hid or misrepresented the value of the assets in offshore accounts, including offshore IRA accounts, in order to evade taxes or even to avoid taxes using legal means available only to the very wealthy.  And whether your proposed tax policies, such as reducing yet again taxes on the wealthy, would benefit you (the candidate) extensively, to the detriment of a large percentage of the public.

As for Ann Romney’s MS (what doctor(s) can actually confirm this?) and dressage therapy, it was Romney herself, not the DNC, that raised the issue, by going on television and responding to the DNC ad by telling everyone that she uses the Olympic horse for therapy.  (She has several substitute horses when that horse is training or in, say, London for a competition.  She didn’t mention that, though, I guess.)  She also said that the MS diagnosis was her darkest hour.

Her husband is running for president partly on a platform of repealing the ACA (Obamacare), including the provision that requires insurance companies to accept everyone regardless of preexisting medical conditions, and, of course, the provisions that provide for expansion of Medicaid and for subsidies for premiums for some others.

You say that we need more awareness and research so we can actually understand what causes this disease and how to treat it with something better than a 33% success rate. 

By the way, has anyone actually seen or heard Ann Romney do any TV or radio spots or “walks” where she is actually promoting an awareness of this serious issue?

In this country, unlike in every other advanced industrialized democracy in the world, medical advances can be made use of here only by those who have access to employee-benefit medical insurance (hopefully, we’ll fix this also). She’s obviously among them.  But not everyone else with MS or another debilitating chronic illness can do this.

I’ll call Kaiser Permanente asap to find out if I am diagnosed with MS whether or not I can purchase (and claim as a business tax deduction like Romney) an “Olympic grade Dressage” horse as part of my therapy.

I'd also like to note that under Romney's proposed tax and budget cuts, which are extreme, there would be virtually no federal funds for medical research, either to the universities or to the NIH. So if you're someone who places a high value on medical research—and I suspect that most people do—this is no small matter to consider when deciding whether Romney is a bad candidate or not.

Isn’t it true that the only person allowed to ride the animal (Rafalca) would be the athlete who is actually competing with it -- not even another trainer or rider. Otherwise, it compromises the performance?

The Romneys have quite a number of dressage horses, as I understand it. The ones she rides are not the ones in competition, I guess.

Question: How many dressage horses does she need for her therapy? They have three or four homes--so why do they need more than three or four healthy dressage horses at any one time?

Hmmm. Since it appears that the horse for the Olympics is not the horse for the therapy, it seems like the Romneys have artfully dodged the attack with an irrelevant plea for sympathy.

Most people without healthcare insurance miss the dignity of having to use a dressage horse to treat MS and which is bound for the Olympics. Maybe Mitt will mandate dressage horses along with the dignity to work to escape welfare.

While I have sympathy and concern for MS victims, most deal with far less, and still must work which Ms. Romney may have escaped all of her life.

How many MS victims actually get this level of equine therapy?

I believe she should be doing some type of Hippo Therapy, which requires unique characteristics not necessarily found in a dressage horse. You want some spirit in a dressage horse but that could potentially be dangerous to a patient.

We need to speak out. People need to "get it". I want the candidate to show the concern and empathy for non-rich, non-horsey suffers of tragic diseases. I don't owe the candidate any hesitance based on his wife's (supposedly and undocumented) tragic situation.

I resent the attempt to send "sympathizers" around the Internet and media outlets to express "me too" outrage.

Believe me, to the average person facing such a disease, the policies of the candidate MUST be expressed as they relate to all who will suffer and be victimized by mean anti-American intentions such as the Ryan budget, ACA repeal, and other attempts to turn workers into disposable resources.

(See: “A Reasonably Balanced Reporting of a Typical Romney Bain Private Equity Deal: http://tinyurl.com/7l9vpz9)

Saying that it is the height of being disingenuous for the Romney's to claim all of their equine expenses as being MS/disease related. Like so many other 'welfare queens of wall street' the Romney's have an over sized sense of entitlement.

Ann's horsies are fair game, until all Americans, not just the wealthy have access to the health care they need why should they get tens of thousands of dollars of tax relief.

By the way, only the 1%....or maybe the 5%, have the wherewithal to actually own the horses they use for therapy.
And no, Ann Romney hasn't drawn needed attention to MS.  MS is one of the most common neurological diseases.  Famous people with MS include Richard Pryor, Barbara Jordan, Annette Funicello, Montel Williams, David "Squiggy" Lander, Alan & David Osmond, Donna Fargo, Teri Garr, Clay Walker, Neil Cavuto, Joan Didion and many more.  And there are many celebrities whose relatives have MS, like Gloria Estefan's father.  MANY of these celebrities have devoted themselves to awareness, raising money for MS treatment & research, etc. 

Gloria Estefan, among her many MS-related activities, actually does MS Walks -- you think that doesn't bring attention and raise LOTS of money? 

Clay Walker, multi-platinum country singer, formed Band Against MS, a nonprofit devoted to providing assistance for people with MS, providing educational information & raising money for research.  He did a Nashville concert to raise money for MS research. 

Many of the above are/have been MS Ambassadors for the MS Society, and so much more. 

I wonder if we can count on similar devotion to the cause from “Ann” or it'll always be all about her.

And now isn't the time to be out there stumping for another cause, (campaign assistance) particularly given the need to take care of herself so as not to exacerbate the disease.  We'll see in the future -- I know what my bets are on.

And, frankly, while I do empathize with Ann Romney's emotional reaction to the (supposedly and undocumented) diagnosis, all sympathy is lost when she makes her grand pronouncements about "those people," when so many have to fight for medical care and so many go without and when her husband/candidate for president doesn't give a crap about other people with MS, those who will be devastated by his drastic cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and research devoted to finding the cause, care and maybe even down the road a cure for MS and other devastating neurological diseases. 

And then there's his promise to repeal the ACA....which would mean on a personal level that I stop being a paying health insured citizen and instead go to getting whatever freebies I can get as long as they hold out.....I have every right to revile both Ann & Willard Romney.  And frankly, what a stupid move on his part -- it belies his claim to be in favor of fiscal responsibility -- I would then be forced to being dependent on others for whatever charity they'll give.

And the Congressional Budget Office agrees....it would be a lame-brained move -- its analysis indicated repealing the law would cause a net increase in federal deficits of $210 billion from 2012 - 2021.

Maybe someone can figure out how we can get this in an “op-ed form” and offer it to the New York Times. If the Times isn’t interested, Slate might be. They publish freelance pieces too.

I just want also to point out that Ann Romney was diagnosed with MS in the mid-1990s, so she’s not new to the matter. I assume that she and her husband donate large amounts regularly to MS research, but they’d have to donate a far larger percentage of their wealth to MS research (not to mention research for other debilitating diseases) to compensate for the amount of federal funds Romney for medical research that Romney wants to cut.

Also, most people who use hippotherapy don’t own the horses the use; they go to a stable and rent one of the trained horses periodically.

It would be nice to see this in an ad for Obama.

If Mitt Romney really doesn’t believe that that type of information—given the high probability of the use of extreme mechanisms for major tax avoidance or actual tax evasion, and the remarkable metastasizing of that IRA (suggesting the clear possibility that Romney simply lied about the value of assets he put in the account, especially since he has not disputed speculation that that is what he did)—then that alone disqualifies him to be president, in my opinion.

By the way, this would not be the first time Mr. Romney got “creative” with tax avoidance getting the attention of both the IRS and the Dept. of Justice: See: ““Romney Personally Approved Over $70 Million In Fictional Losses To The IRS As Part Tax Scandal. One Of The Largest Tax Avoidance Schemes In History.”: http://tinyurl.com/8nejx9w

Early Involvement in Politics:

Ann Romney ran for the position of town meeting representative in Belmont in 1977.[15] She studied local issues and engaged in door-to-door campaigning, and won the election.[15]
Her first prolonged public exposure came during her husband's eventually losing effort in the 1994 U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts,[25] during which she campaigned for him on a nightly basis.[20] She was seen as superficial and too deferential to him[25] and some columnists labelled her a "Stepford wife".[29] Late in that campaign, she gave a long interview to The Boston Globe.[20] Her statement in it that she and her husband had never had a serious argument during their married years[20] came in for ridicule,[30] and her portrayal of the couple's student years as financially impoverished, while they lived off of sales of George Romney's stock and loans, made her seem privileged and naïve and brought a harsh public reaction.[31][32][15] Boston University political science professor later said, "She definitely hurt him in that race."[25] Asked at the time if she would be involved in future campaigns, Ann said, "Never. You couldn't pay me to do this again."[33] She later termed the experience "a real education".[25



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