Archive | November, 2017

How China and Russia are reshaping international politics and “Humanismus darf keine Illusion sein”

20 Nov
 These are two articles by Polish writers that Peter was telling me about:


Matthias Nawrat

Humanismus darf keine Illusion sein

Mit Egoismus, Panik oder Wut reagieren viele auf die Unsicherheit der Gegenwart. Ist eine Utopie möglich, die dem Einzelnen wieder Halt und eine geistige Behausung gibt?

© Ryan Young//

My Ancestry

20 Nov

Having just had a little bit of sweet red wine with lunch today, I felt a pit tipsy.

Peter said, he read two interesting blogs today from Polish people, one written in English the other one in German. I cheered him, I said, after all I am half Polish, aren’t I? Well, Peter pointed out, I might actually be more Russian for when my father was born in Lodz in 1904, the place was Russian.

But you see, my father was actually German by descent, and as far as we know, he never gave up his claim on German citizenship. When later on in life he moved to Germany, he had no problems at all being recognized as a German for he was definitely totally German by descent.

So does that mean I am neither Russian nor Polish even though my father was born in a Russian place which later became Polish again,  and then during WW II was occupied by Germans? All this is very confusing, isn’t it?

I am an Australian citizen now, have been for some time. However, Peter said, I probably could not be a member of the Australian parliament. How so? I had to renounce my German citizenship, didn’t I? Any German embassy could vouch for it, that I am not allowed to carry a German passport anymore. I had to hand in my German passport as soon as I acquired Australian citizenship. So doesn’t that make me eligible for the Australian parliament? I bet it does!!  🙂  🙂

By the way my mother is from Leipzig, Saxony, Germany, same as her father (my grandfather), whereas her mother (my grandmother) comes from Bavaria. Seems to be a straightforward German ancestry on my mother’s side.

A Melbourne abattoir . . . .

19 Nov

A Melbourne abattoir has been allowed to continue operating despite being investigated for possible animal cruelty, after secretly recorded footage showed it boiling chickens alive in its slaughter process.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Lots of people buy free-range eggs because they figure the animals are probably treated better than battery hens.

That is true of their everyday lives, but when they stop laying eggs, it can be a different story.

Once their production slows down, free-range chickens are killed either on the farm or in slaughter houses.

One activist who’s filmed the slaughter is risking criminal prosecution by speaking publicly about the operation.

Pat McGrath reports and a warning: this story contains distressing footage.

PAT MCGRATH, REPORTER: When consumers pay top dollar for free-range eggs, this is the kind of life they hope they’re buying for hens.

But while free-range chickens are promised fortunate lives, they’re not guaranteed a humane death.

TAMARA KENNEALLY, DREAMERS HEN RESCUE: There’s never, ever been any footage shot of laying hens being slaughtered in Australia, never.

I do want people that eat eggs to watch it, just to know what’s happening to these girls.

Caged girls, barn girl, free-range girls – they all die like this.

PAT MCGRATH: These chickens have laid thousands of eggs. Now they’ve become by-products of an industry that deems hens spent when they’re 18 months old.

Their final hours have been secretly filmed.

TAMARA KENNEALLY: We have 73 chickens.

PAT MCGRATH: Seventy-three?

TAMARA KENNEALLY: Seventy-three, we have 17 sheep.

PAT MCGRATH: Tamara Kenneally was part of a small group of activists who broke into a Melbourne poultry abattoir and planted hidden cameras.

You’re taking on some risk by speaking out like this.


PAT MCGRATH: I mean you’ve broken the law here.


PAT MCGRATH: Why are you speaking out?

TAMARA KENNEALLY: Because it’s so upsetting, it’s so shocking and it needs to be seen.

PAT MCGRATH: The footage was taken inside the Star Poultry slaughter house in Melbourne over four months earlier this year.

These hens aren’t destined for our roast dinners. Layer hens are bonier than meat chickens so they’re usually made into pet food or stock powder.

TAMARA KENNEALLY: We concentrated on the different sections of the slaughtering.

So the first lot of footage we got was actually of the chickens in the crates, and then we put it above where the shackles are and get as much there as possible.

In the morning at sunrise the workers come in, and they start hanging them up by their feet, incredibly roughly.

There’s feet all over the ground. So when they’re actually hanging them up they’re doing it so roughly that their feet are coming off.

See her? She just, she got out and got away, and this worker sees her and comes and hits her with a pole.

PAT MCGRATH: Just whacked her.


PAT MCGRATH: Industry regulations require hens to be stunned, then immediately killed.

They should all be dead here?

TAMARA KENNEALLY: They should all be dead here.

PAT MCGRATH: What’s this person, this guy, this worker here?

TAMARA KENNEALLY: This guy is supposed to slit their throats but see, she was still alive there. She is alive.

PAT MCGRATH: The chickens head towards a scalding tank that’s designed to strip their feathers.

They’re supposed to be dead but many are still alive.

TAMARA KENNEALLY: They were actually going through the conveyer on the shackles alive, and being dunked into the boiling water alive.

So they were being scalded to death basically, yeah.

Yeah, that poor girl. Look at her. Oh, she really, she really suffered going into that and, you know, this was happening every single night we got footage.

PAT MCGRATH: The group retrieved their vision most nights for four months.

The secret filming came to an end one night when Tamara returned to pick up her camera and it was gone.

TAMARA KENNEALLY: The owner actually ended up putting alarms and cameras in the property because I think he realised, after that camera, he found that camera, that something was going on.

PAT MCGRATH: Well, it is early morning at Star Poultry in Melbourne’s east.

We have come here because they won’t return our calls, they won’t answer our interview requests and in fact, they have actually put up a barrier here of crates so we can’t actually film what’s going on.

But we have already seen what’s going on and so have some of the top experts in animal welfare in Australia and they’re horrified.

KATE HARTCHER, RSPCA SCIENTIFIC OFFICER: I was extremely shocked and distressed watching this footage. Something like this should never occur and we really should have the appropriate oversight both within the abattoir and in terms of the government responsibility in monitoring animal welfare.

PAT MCGRATH: Victoria’s abattoir regulator, PrimeSafe, investigated Star Poultry after receiving a copy of this footage earlier this year and forced the company to make changes to its machinery and retrain staff.

The RSPCA is surprised that the Department of Agriculture, which has the power to shut down abattoirs, allowed Star Poultry to continue operating while it was being investigated.

KATE HARTCHER: We think that the abattoir should have been immediately shut down until all animal welfare risks can be avoided and any problems can be rectified.

It was extremely poor practice, and it was a systemic problem in the abattoir, so the abattoir shouldn’t have been running at all.

PAT MCGRATH: The Department of Agriculture wouldn’t tell us why it didn’t prosecute Star Poultry. It simply says it was happy with the changes ordered by PrimeSafe.

The RSPCA wants all abattoirs to be fitted with CCTV cameras and for footage to be readily available to authorities.

KATE HARTCHER: We have seen over the last few years there have been a number of incidents where animal mistreatment has occurred at abattoirs and the only reason that this gets brought to light is through undercover footage such as this footage.

That’s unacceptable, and it obviously shows that there’s a lack of appropriate auditing and a lack of appropriate regulation in this space.

PAT MCGRATH: State and territory governments are currently negotiating with the industry and welfare groups about a new set of poultry welfare guidelines.

Yet a tightening of slaughter regulations isn’t on the agenda.

The RSPCA says the industry is resisting any changes.

KATE HARTCHER: This is the first time in over 15 years that these standards have been reviewed.

The RSPCA has been a stake holder in this process and we’ve been extremely disappointed so far.

So we have seen that they are not science-based and they’re also not independent.

So to improve animal welfare we really need to have the standards improved as well as their implementation and, of course, their enforcement which is obviously not happening at the moment in Australia if we see this kind of footage.

PAT MCGRATH: Are people fooling themselves do you think about free range?

TAMARA KENNEALLY: Yes. They’re fooling themselves because they do want it to be kind and they’re not bad people. They want a kind choice but it’s not a kind choice.

LEIGH SALES: Pat McGrath reports.

“Don’t Worry, Life Is Easy” by Agnès Martin-Lugand. Also my Opinion on Gay Marriages

18 Nov

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.



Now in Paperback: The much-anticipated, bestselling sequel to the international phenomenon Happy People Read and Drink Coffee.

Diane needs to start over again. After returning from Ireland and turning the page on her stormy relationship with Edward, the brooding Irish photographer, she is determined to rebuild her life in Paris with help from her best friend Félix. She focuses solely on getting her literary café back on track-until she meets Olivier.

He is kind and thoughtful, and she may have a future with him…until she stumbles across her former love at a photography exhibit. What is Edward doing in Paris? Why didn’t he reach out? Faced with a hail of questions, her old flame remains cold and unresponsive. Apparently, he, too, has moved on.

In order to put the past behind her, Diane must go back over her tracks. Ireland saved her before. Can she get answers there and find peace again?”


I got the above book from the local library and enjoyed reading it very much. When I can find  “Happy People Read and Drink Coffee” I am going to read this too. However I find it is all right too to just read   “Don’t Worry, Life Is Easy”  without having read “Happy People Read and Drink Coffee” .

Above I copied the

iTunes Preview of  “Don’t Worry, Life Is Easy” 

Several people are mentioned: Diane,  Félix , Oliver and Edward. It says:

“In order to put the past behind her, Diane must go back over her tracks. Ireland saved her before. Can she get answers there and find peace again?”

So Diane does go back over her tracks, namely to Mulranny where she spent quite a bit of time not so long ago and did get to know and love quite a few people who helped her in a personal crisis after having lost her husband and young daughter in a car accident.

Diane loves Félix like a brother and treats him very respectfully as her partner in that business she owns, namely her literary café.  Félix is gay and a very good friend to Diane. He loves her and always looks out for her. With the postal survey about same sex marriage, that we just had in Australia, the issue of ssm is a lot on peoples’ mind these days. In this fictional story that I have just read, this guy  Félix is a very happy and friendly Parisian bloke who loves to go out a lot and meet his friends. Towards the end of the book the issue comes up that someone would like to have Félix  as a permanent partner because he loves him. It is left open whether they really get together. But if it should happen that they want to stay together, why should they not be allowed to marry? What harm would a marriage like that do to anyone?

Heterosexual couples usually get very excited about marrying, even if they have already lived together for some time. Once a marriage proposal has been accepted, there is joyful excitement all the way which usually extends to friends and family as well. Why should not gay people have the option to go for marriage? I do not know the statistics about the duration of such marriages, however I am inclined to believe gay or lesbian marriages probably last at least for as long as heterosexual marriages, on average that is.

Going back to the above book, I would like to copy here a few sentences from page 15 of the book. Here is what Diane says about the bookstore:

“I had wanted the bookstore to become a warm, welcoming place, open to everyone, somewhere that all types of literature would find a home.  . . .  “

Lots of Rain in Dapto on Saturday, 18th November 2017

18 Nov

Peter went outside to save some of our strawberries:



While I ‘m at it I’ll insert some more of our recent pictures. First here are some pictures that Peter took the other day when we went for a little walk in the morning:


Peter took this picture of a Jacaranda Tree in Figtree, a Wollongong Suburb.

Only last Wednesday Peter went to see his ophthalmologist in Figtree. His eye pressure turned out to have somewhat deteriorated, and she prescribed him some stronger eye-drops.

I had some Chai and a slice of lovely warm banana bread at the Gossips Coffee Lounge while I was waiting for Peter to return from his appointment. The Gossips Coffee Lounge is in the Figtree Grove Shopping Centre. They have a huge Fruit and Vegetable Shop where a lot of produce is offered at reasonable prices. Before we drove home, we used the opportunity to buy some fresh things.

Last Tuesday Peter saw hiss oncologist in Wollongong. Peter is doing well, but for a little infection that was detected in his urine she prescribed for him precautionary some antibiotics. But he was allowed to continue with his BCG treatment in Wollongong Hospital. It was his fourth treatment in this series. Everything went well. So this was then last Thursday. He parked in the Hospital Carpark in a special area that is set aside for cancer patients. The parking is free for him.

At the hospital  I stayed with Peter only for a couple of hours. Then I caught a bus in front of the hospital. This bus took me to Ribbonwood Centre in Dapto where I always have on a Thursday at 12,30 with about a dozen other seniors a ‘slow movement exercise class’. After the class I waited for Peter at the centre. He arrived after his treatment a bit after 2 o’clock to pick me up. It is always good to be back home after an outing like this.

Last Thursday I had taken a sandwich with me for lunch. I always take some water with me too. The other Thursday I bought at the Hospital Coffee Shop some lunch: A Gourmet Salad! It was very much to my liking:



Peter had to be at the Cancer Care Centre of Wollongong Hospital by 9,30 in the morning. We arrived early and I had a cup of tea in the waiting room. Peter was of course not allowed to have any drink before his treatment.

The other day a nice tea lady gave me a delicious biscuit. I took a picture of the wrapping to remember the brand name for I want to try and buy it somewhere. It tasted so very nice.!


From 2 pm to nearly 5 pm I played Scrabble and Rummy with my lady friends. (Same as always on a Friday.)  I was back home by 5 pm. Then from around 6 pm to 11 pm we had constant thunder and lightning. Sometimes it came very, very close! Peter and I gave TV a miss last night and just spent some time with playing Rummy with our Rummy tiles. Peter won this time. This made him very happy!

It rained through the night and most of the morning. Very good rain for the garden!



My November Diary continued

17 Nov



Above are some previous pictures of the jacaranda tree in out neighbourhood. It is the only one close by and has not got very many blooms left. However I noticed this week wonderfully flowering trees in different towns of the Illawarra. At this time of the year they all seem to be still in full bloom and look very lovely. Unfortunately I never had my camera with me whenever I came near some of these beautiful flowering jacarandas.

The other day I went with Peter for a little walk near our house. It was early morning.  Looking up into the sky we could still see the moon. Peter tried to take a picture of it, alas with not much success.



DSCN3482 (2)DSCN3482



Peter took this picture of me. It was a beautiful morning for a bit of a walk.

Explosive footage from inside Manus

16 Nov
Posted by GetUp!

For years, successive Australian Governments have desperately tried to hide the truth about Manus. But no more.

Smuggled in under cover of darkness, we just recorded explosive new footage from inside the Manus detention centre.

Six hundred men are sick, starving and thirsty. Just to sleep, they drag their mattresses out of crammed steel sheds to escape the searing heat. They’re living without power, water or medicine. And for all that, they fear even more where they could be taken next.

The GetUp Human Rights Directors, Matthew Phillips and Shen Narayanasamy, are human rights experts with refugee crisis experience in places like South Sudan — what they witnessed was the worst they’d ever seen.

Our Government’s fences and walls, their gag rules and media blackouts, have all been designed to hide these appalling conditions from the Australian people — to prevent the tide of public outrage that could sweep down this abusive regime.

This heart-wrenching footage has the power to shame our parliament into action — The Daily Telegraph and other News Corp tabloids are running these images as front page stories calling the conditions horrific.

Now we need to turn that outrage into action.

People are about to become seriously ill or die, and only the Australian Government has the capacity to evacuate the camp.

New Zealand, the US or Canada and other safe countries may be willing to resettle these men, but we can’t wait months for a resettlement process – evacuation must happen now.

Can you help shame our Parliament into immediate action by signing this people-powered petition demanding they evacuate Manus immediately?