FRIENDS

I heard today that the cast of friends are getting back together and it made me think of friends. I’ve have quite a few “friends” but some are what are described as fair weather friends. My best friend Steve Poskitt died a few years back he was a true friend, he made me laugh right up to the day he passed away. But there are the others who only stay around when there’s something in it for them. They should know who they are and IF they don’t they will just as soon as I get a chance to “unfriend” them on Facebook.

I don’t like trying to preach to people even when I have a strong point of view and it annoys me when I see people spouting out how we should behave, how we can be better human beings, how to attain spiritual enlightenment etc etc. who are they to tell me or you anything! So over the course of the next few days I’m beginning the process of “unfriending”.

IF I post on Facebook I want it to entertain and (maybe) pass on information and news that I’ve picked up (once I’ve checked it out of course) because there’s so much fake news out there.

I heard the news today oh boy, 4000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire and though the holes were rather small they had to count them all, now we know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert hall.OH there’s so much bad news out there John Lennon IF you were still alive today you’d be disappointed how little we have learnt.

So a blog a day keeps the ??? away. Peace and Love

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usNsCeOV4GM

Heaven must be missing an Angel

I live opposite a monument that has fascinated me since I moved here, the dedication is in Maltese so its been kinda difficult to find out what or who the monument is for. The light shines bright throughout the night and I’m sure it can be seen from miles around. My investigation shed light on what to me was a mystery. Bryan Portelli someone here really loves and misses you.

Bryan Portelli’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BryanPortelliILM/

The monument I have discovered was built with the support of his mother Rita Portelli (its amazing what you can find out on Facebook). I feel it best to leave any further commentary to those who know more about Bryan in the meantime these are just a few random photos I’ve taken of this magnificent view.

So there you have it, a sad story no doubt perhaps Bryan’s mother can explain?

Walk on the wild side

So an interesting start to my day, I decided to take a walk down to San Blas a local beach. Purpose to find a good bamboo cane to make into a hat/coat stand.

unusual
the long and winding road
strange formations
anther odd structure
walls made from whatever is around
view of the sea

I found the bamboo and it looks quite good holding up my hats etc. Gozo is an unusual place as I was walking (yes walking) down the path in the early hours old men were walking up the hill with sacks over their shoulders. No doubt they’d been sorting out their piece of land and taking back home dinner. You could live for free here IF you wanted.

A VERY OLD BLOG

Friday, August 1, 2014

PURPOSE

Children our FutureWhen the idea of this group started I had no real idea as to what its primary purpose would be. I knew I wanted to help children and that’s about it. The inspiration for starting the group came at thanksgiving 2013. 
I was at a thanksgiving party with my ex-wife. The hostess June had invited us both as the only none family members of what was a special family get together. The people at the party were very nice, everyone was relaxed and having a really nice time  Some guests had brought babies and children which made the evening even more relaxed and a family celebration. Before we began to eat, June started by asking us to join hands and say what we were thankful for. This may well be a tradition that happens at thanksgiving celebrations, but in my 10 years in the US it was the first time I’d been asked that question.I really didn’t know what to say and looked around the table, then I realized what I was thankful for“children, because they’re our future”. That started what has become http://www.childrenourfuture.org. So then I thought about what can the group could achieve?  What was its purpose? We had/have zero resources, I’d just lost my job, I had some connections on LinkedIn and Facebook, so why not start a group on LinkedIn. I already had a small group I founded on LinkedIn called “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to” a quote used by Richard Branson years ago that had become something of a mantra for me.
So I started our group, still wondering, what is our purpose. What is our mission? I wanted it to be a new tool and not simply add to the already huge resources helping kid’s but being of some use, and not just some sort of ego trip for me. There are indeed many organizations out there, and lots of resources all over the world. Some of the Buddhist principles I so greatly admire and support are being made available on the internet but how do you get to them? I thought maybe we can build a network of links for kids, parents, teachers and counselors so they are able to look and see what’s happening with kids in different parts of the world (So take a parents situation, my child has ADHD I’ve checked out everything in the US, I wonder what they’re doing about it in say Ireland or India or the UK).This exchange of information should grow exponentially so we can access other alternatives and read success stores, decide for ourselves how to help our kids, home schooling? Who knows, but the links “the bricks” would be there.

So why bricks? Anyone who knows the story of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” will know it’s about childhood, it’s about the effect others can have on the “development” of a child. The bricks are built around the child during its life (in this case Roger Waters). Our bricks hopefully represent  the answer to your questions, and over time when “the content” gets better then it will be the place where we can check out for help, and in many cases that would be help for parents who are at the end of their tether, they need help.

I’m a very proud father and grandfather and great grandfather and I love to see kids happy, Children our Future needs to be in the hands of someone who can make sure its mission will continue whatever happens to me and I will always welcome ideas as to how we can ensure that happens. We have a website www.childrenourfuture.org  OK well I did pay for that, and now we have a mission.
 “A resource for those wanting to Support, Advise, Validate Encourage our children, our own or the worlds. So now its 14th FEBRUARY 2020 and I found this old blog quite by chance its still relevant so enjoy or not but PLEASE comment

Broken Heart

There are two parts to this story, the first part is by way of an introduction of how this unethical company has affected me personally, the second part is how it has affected you and others who aren’t aware of how far their exploitation has gone.

Part 1. Me. Well this doesn’t need any great research Medtronic has cost me financially, they have stolen my time, my health and my Karma. Why?

I was fitted with a Pacemaker made by Medtronic *[1] after fainting in my home. I look back now and consider ‘should I have had the operation in the first place knowing what I know today’. To explain, I got out of bed one morning and felt lightheaded, I fainted banged my head and when I came to, I decided to drive to the local hospital. I was admitted and six days later was fitted with a Medtronic Pacemaker. What I didn’t know at the time was the track record of what I regard as a completely unethical money-making machine that puts profits before patients was the maker of this device. After months of tests following a “recall” of my device by Medtronic I was told that I needed a different Pacemaker and have the old one removed (under local anaesthetic) which was quite painful. The Pacemaker was replaced by a German made Biotronik *[2] Pacemaker. As I write this I felt it appropriate to give Biotronik an opportunity to speak their mind and sent this message, (I recently had one of your Pacemakers fitted to replace a Medtronic device, I can say your pacemaker is now working well. However, I am now very concerned that Medtronic is putting profit before patients and continues to place patients at risk. I am now writing an article for the Times newspaper exposing some of the facts that I’ve uncovered and by way of this message wanted to give you the opportunity to have your say whether that be by means of your mission statement or whatever you feel appropriate. You don’t of course need to respond at all I should mention that this case has been running for some time and has now involved friends (politicians in Malta and the USA) Who I’m assured will want to see some real action against this company. Thank you for producing a reliable device and I look forward to hearing from you.) I will forward their reply if and when I get one.

So enough about me what about Medtronic *[3]. Medtronic was founded in 1949 in Minneapolis by Earl Bakken and his brother-in-law, Palmer Hermundslie, as a medical equipment repair shop.

Through his repair business, Bakken came to know C. Walton Lillehei, a doctor of heart surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. The deficiencies of the pacemakers of the day were made painfully obvious following a power outage over Halloween in 1957, which affected large sections of Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A pacemaker-dependent paediatric patient of Lillehei died because of the blackout. The next day, Lillehei spoke with Bakken about developing some form of battery-powered pacemaker. Bakken modified a design for a transistorized metronome and created the first battery-powered external artificial pacemaker.

Medtronic’s original headquarters in St. Anthony, Minnesota

The company expanded through the 1950s, selling equipment built by other companies but also developing custom-made devices. Bakken built a small pacemaker that could be strapped to the body and powered by batteries. Work in the new field later produced an implantable pacemaker in 1960. The company built headquarters in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Anthony, Minnesota, in 1960 and the company moved to Fridley in the 1970s. Medtronic’s main competitors in the cardiac rhythm field include Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical. In 1998, Medtronic acquired Physio-Control for $538 million.

Animal rights (2005 to 2010) In 2005, 2008, and 2010 PETA threatened to submit a shareholder resolution to improve animal welfare standards in the company. In 2005, PETA attempted to stop five specific animal experiments that it deemed “crude and cruel”. In 2008, PETA protested the outsourcing of animal testing to countries with lax animal welfare laws, such as China. In 2010, PETA attempted to stop Medtronic’s reported use of live animals in testing and training. In response, Medtronic conducted a feasibility study that found that banning the use of live animals was impractical. Medtronic continues to use live animals for testing and training but has said that it will look for alternatives in the future. In each case, PETA withdrew its shareholder resolution after talks with Medtronic’s leadership.

Tax inversion to Ireland (2014)

Medtronic legal headquarters, 20 Lower Hatch Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

In June 2014, Medtronic announced it would execute a tax inversion to Ireland by acquiring Irish-based Covidien plc (a previous U.S. tax inversion to Ireland in 2007), for $42.9 billion in cash and stock. The tax inversion enabled Medtronic to move its legal headquarters to Ireland, while maintaining its operational and executive headquarters in the U.S., thus allowing it to avoid taxation on more than $14 billion held overseas, and avail of Ireland’s beneficial low corporation tax regime. Medtronic’s tax inversion is the largest tax inversion in history and given the changes in the U.S. tax-code in 2016 to block the Pfizer-Allergain Irish tax inversion, is likely to remain the largest. Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak defended the tax inversion in a 2015 interview to the Financial Times saying, “We just followed the rules and the deal was done based on strategic merits”. Ireland is less than 0.1% of Medtronic (or Covidien) sales, and the majority of Medtronic’s sales, and an even greater percentage of Medtronic profits (due to the higher margins on U.S. medical devices), are from the U.S. healthcare system. In 2016, the Star Tribune reported that Medtronic was still winning U.S. Federal contracts and attending U.S. trade-missions as a U.S. company.

In terms of scale, on 23 November 2018, Ireland’s largest stockbrokers, Davy Stockbrokers reported that the total capitalization of the Irish stock market was €104 billion (this does not include Medtronic, which Davy do not consider an Irish company). In contrast, on the same day Medtronic’s capitalisation was listed on Bloomberg at just over $130 billion (or €115 billion).

Medtronic’s acquisition of Covidien plc made Medtronic the world’s largest medical device company by revenues.

Post tax inversion to Ireland (2014–)

In February 2016, the company announced that it would acquire Bellco from private equity firm Charme Capital Partners. In June, the company announced its acquisition of HeartWare International Inc. for $1.1 billion. In December 2017, Medtronic acquired Crospon in €38 million ($45 million). In September 2018 the company acquired Mazor Robotics for $1.64 billion ($58.50 per American Depository Share or $29.25 per ordinary share. In late November, Medtronic acquired Nutrino Health Ltd boosting the company’s nutrition-related data services and analytics.

In May 2019, Medtronic announced it would acquire Titan Spine, a technology company focussed on titanium spine implants. Chief Executive Officer Omar Ishrak *[6] will retire in April 2020 and will be succeeded by senior executive Geoff Martha. In January 2020, the company announced its intention to acquire Stimgenics, LLC and their primary therapy, differential target multiplexed spinal cord stimulation.

Acquisition history Medtronic Global rankings

In May 2018, Medtronic was ranked as the world’s largest medical device company by 2017 revenues (see table below).

In March 2017, Bloomberg’s database of U.S. tax inversions listed Medtronic and Wright Medical Group (Medtronic’s 2015 inversion to Ireland was over $100 billion, while Wright’s 2015 inversion to the Netherlands was $3.3 billion), as the only U.S. tax inversions of a U.S. medical device company in history. In February 2018, the Wall Street Journal listed Medtronic’s 2015 tax inversion to Ireland as the largest U.S. corporate tax inversion executed between 2013 and 2016. In May 2018, Medtronic was ranked as the largest corporate tax inversion in history.

So not only is this company exploiting the worlds population but its also avoiding tax to the US government of $ billions. Should they be brought to task? Should Omar Ishrak their CEO be asked to explain the actions of this company under his watch before he “retires” (well word has it he’s off to yet another money-making opportunity). How much money can one man accrue and what does he do with it all?

I hope the US government responds to what is a complete disregard for ethics and also regain control of this huge tax injection which can be used for the betterment of us all.

[1] https://asiapac.medtronic.com/xp-en/index.html

[2] https://www.biotronik.com/en-sea/about-us

[3]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medtronic

[4] https://www.medtronic.com/us-en/healthcare-professionals/products/product-performance/dual-chamber-pacemaker-recall.html

[5] https://www.medtechdive.com/news/medtronic-recalls-pacemakers-due-to-software-error/548668/

[6] https://www.medtronic.com/us-en/about/leadership/omar-ishrak.html

A Day to Remember

It’s 6am on Friday 31st January 2020, I’ve been looking forward to 2020 for some time now 20/20 vision and all that, but strangely my view on things has changed and I think for the better. Take yesterday for example, and don’t forget I’m running 2 blogs apart from this I also have http://www.britishbuddha.com which when I set that up made the mistake of adding blog to the BB part. Confused? Well I certainly was, but to get back on track (I really must stop rambling).

I set off yesterday with a mission, as usual I’d had little or no sleep (I can’t understand how this worn out body keeps going). It’s now 6-45 so to continue, confusion reigns as with 2 blogs, 3 email addresses numerous domain names? I need to simplify my life (perhaps that’s where Odoo can help. After all they paid for most of the day yesterday. So the Marriott Hotel in Malta, its only been open 2 weeks it’s got to be their flagship location, its huge, its luxurious, its state of the art. Do you think I’m exaggerating? OK all will be revealed. IF you ask via this blog

Cicero, Buddha and The Two Doctors on Old Age

Dr B or a Buddha as I regard him

Buddha Walks Into A Wine Bar ....

I first published this book review as a “conversation” between ourselves and Buddha (Sid) exactly one year ago at the start of 2019 and it seemed appropriate to repost it for all of my new followers as well as having a sort of timeless quality to it. The central issue is for us old fogies NOT to become a member of the “forever young brigade”, a theme I will continue to expand on in the coming weeks. I hope you enjoy the post and that it inspires those of you in or approaching old age.

Patience! This IS a book review!

Buddha walks into the wine bar, sits down in his usual corner and waits for the Two Doctors to arrive. His favourite bottle of Badoit Rouge is placed on the table with a glass and the waiter opens the bottle and pours the sparkling mineral water. Christmas is coming…

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Hope Trumps Despair!

Buddha Walks Into A Wine Bar ....

I’m glad to see the back of 2019 for a great many reasons, all of which contributed to make it the second worst year of my life! The general “atmosphere” of this great country of ours was polluted by the political machinations over Brexit, particularly the failure of the “losers” to accept a democratic referendum. More particularly, and more personal however, was the first year in my whole life when my health seemed to fail me.
In March after a range of symptoms, tests, scans and consultations, I was diagnosed as a Coeliac. This means that I am completely wheat intolerant, 100%, and must spend the rest of my life on a gluten free diet. Not entirely a problem though, we already follow a whole food diet and set about reading all of the bottles and jars in the house and discarding everything that had even a trace of wheat…

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I HAD A DREAM

As the great MLK said Martin Luther King had a dream and I’ve had many dreams lately, its almost like some Divine light is guiding me and won’t allow me to sleep. Now I ain’t afraid of death, I’m a Buddhist I believe in reincarnation so one way or another I’ll be back when I come back I want to come back as a tree, IF I get to choose. I’m posting this quickly now just in case well you never know what’s gonna happen next but when I come back to this post to finish I’ll describe my dream which involves black friends the government conspiracy etc etc.

SO here I am again to continue. In my dream yes I dare to dream, I was in America working for these guy’s it was a conspiracy of HUGE proportions. It’s very complex so bear with me. My Guru Prabu Darma Yasa was in the dream along with a friend Lydia. I was in the USA being kept under guard while I worked for these guys who were employed in a secret organisation aimed at keeping the truth a secret and the truth when I saw it in my dream was of global proportions. Now I was being kept in the open which is the best place to keep things out right in front of ya. I was working alongside a black man and his mother cleaning and stuff. They didn’t know about their ancestor how they came to be in the USA so I explained I’d lived in Hull the centre of the half way stage for the slave trade about the museum which showed in graphic details how thier ancestors had been shipped from place in Africa like the Congo or Niger (river) or today’s Nigeria (that’s where the name Niger came from)

I will continue until it’s finished but here’s where I am so far..

This secret government organisation which even the President didn’t know about had been going since the start of the slave trade. It was funded. Well my dream never told me that, but I would imagine some white supremacy group bent on keeping the black man down. Now I have many black friends one saved my life Rodney Brown another worked with me she was called Ell Michele well her real name was Latrice Ross. The dream featured Lydia and Melody in Lydia’s case I was her ex BUSINESS partner, in Melody’s case her ex-husband. I wish them both well.

I realised for the first time how the black people in America were being supressed in one way or another. I’m a retired volunteer cop and I saw first-hand how even the cops picked on blacks. One day for example we stopped a poor black man for straying over his lane in his car on the highway he showed his wallet inside was a picture of his dead wife. He was taken to prison that’s the last I ever saw of him. I decided rather quickly to leave as a volunteer cop was allowed to keep my ID and later left America (supposedly Land of the Free).

You may think these are the ramblings of an old crazy brit but be assured I’m just an instrument in getting the word out there I don’t know who’s guiding my hand but the bugger is keeping me awake night after night and I beg for some sleep. Rodney saved my life on a lake in Texas I was drowning and being an ex-footballer he threw me a line. I had many black friends I met Stedman Graham a US football legend, big guy I had my photo taken with him when he visited my ex-wife’s school Winfree Academy.