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Happy 4th everyone! That little sentence needs no explanation to my U.S. friends. In fact, I believe 99% of you have the day free for the celebration of U.S. Independence Day, besides Antara, who is helping set up the stage in her town for the big day.

Fourth of July is a national holiday in the States. It is filled with barbeques, parties and fireworks displays put on by the cities. To see where it’s legal to add to air pollution and and torture animals and small children through noise pollution–i.e.set off some fireworks, you can Check out this link for California.

The 4th of July is just another day in The Hague. Thus my Independence Day has been spent behind my work desk: no beer in my hand, pleasant conversation or that fine summer sensation of eagerly awaiting a not dog or corn on the cob fresh off the grill.

But not all is lost. This past Saturday, we were invited to a barbeque at a fellow Expat American’s house here in The Hague, and almost all of my Independence Day needs were met: Kids playing, watermelon, socializing with friends,  a cold beer in my hand, sunshine, a BBQ in the backyard,  a sometimes pessimistic, sometimes uplifting discussion of what Independence means in a post-freedom world of Homeland Security, cyber spying and the  invasion of digital privacy;  the right to bear arms and the consequent accounts of public massacres in schools, bars, movie theaters and workplaces; the concept that corporations are running the country, rather than our government; and the hope that American ideals and values still shine brightly despite it all. If there had just been a fireworks show, I would be sated.

On another American note, I found the start of a post in my saved drafts from last November. I suppose I had a whole rant planned, but got sidetracked. Funny that I should discover this on the 4th of July just as  my work day is over.

Capitalizing on Capitalism (from November 2015)
Something weird happened this past Friday; we opened the pile of advertisements that come in the mail and I discovered something strange among the color catalogs–a little black bag. On the black bag were the words: Black Friday Sale.

Are You Serious? Its bad enough that Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States has turned into “Black Friday”–a frenzy of crazed shoppers storming big box retail stores to get deep discounts on stuff  just hours after sitting down to a meal with family and friends designed as a day for reflection, coming together and giving thanks.

But here in the Netherlands, some crazy marketing person decided it was okay to just skip  the finery of Thanksgiving all together and just capitalize on a distinctly American crazed shopping day. That is the apex of capitalizing on capitalism.

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