February 19, 2015
Stockholm – In response to the United States government’s chronic mistreatment of its citizens, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven ordered crippling sanctions against the world super power. Dozens of international reporters gathered yesterday morning at ABBA: The Museum for Lofven’s announcement.
“To quote the beloved Swedish band Ace of Base, ‘I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes.’ As a peace-loving nation we could no longer ignore the atrocities occurring in the United States,” said Lofven. “Incidentally, Ace of Base’s entire music library is available on (Swedish startup) Spotify.”
Although the United States is often called a ‘land of opportunity,’ it ranks woefully low versus other developed and prosperous countries on income inequality, general health care, infant mortality rates, transportation infrastructure, homicide rates, environmental issues and education.
“You would expect more from a supposed global leader that has the third largest population (320 million people) and second highest GDP (over $17.4 trillion) in the world,” said Lofven. “But the U.S. government has ignored the best interests of its citizens for far too long.”
United Nations relief workers recently delivered food and medical aid to some of the hardest hit U.S. cities, which include Reno, Nevada; Cleveland, Ohio; Stockton, California; and Camden, New Jersey.
“I’ve assisted in many third world countries, but nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed in these American cities,” commented Syrian doctor Sayid Anawi. “My heart broke watching hundred thousand dollar motor vehicles speed by homeless and mentally unstable people.”
Lofven said Sweden’s preliminary measures are aimed at increasing global awareness and cutting off basic necessities. Swedish multinational retail clothing store H&M will sell eco-friendly shirts that say ‘Pan the U.S. Government’ at all 3500 locations. (‘Pan’ is Swedish for ‘F–k.’) Electrolux, a Swedish company that is the second-largest manufacturer of home kitchen appliances in the world, will offer deep discounts of up to 30% for all non U.S. politicians.
“H&M proudly offers Sweden’s quintessential minimalist yet chic style of fashion to the world,” said Lofven. “And 30% off Electrolux products? Simply remarkable! My wife purchased the ‘Ergorapido Brushroll Clean’ lightweight vacuum from Electrolux and our carpets have never looked more pristine.”
Relations between the United States and Sweden had been souring since 2009 when golfer Tiger Woods admitted to infidelities while still married to Swedish native Elin Nordegren. Still, the sanctions could have been avoided had Obama been more receptive to Lofven’s repeated overtures.
“Every time I phoned President Obama to discuss possible resolutions, his wife informed me he was out walking the dog or ‘shooting hoops,’” said Lofven. “On one occasion, Malia answered and said her father was busy. But I swear I heard the President in the background whispering, ‘If it’s that Swedish telemarketer again, tell him I’m not here.’”
Obama initially downplayed the sanctions until White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest informed him that actor Dolph Lundgren is Swedish. The President winced and massaged his temples before speaking.
“Mr. Lundgren is a human weapon of mass destruction. He nearly broke (Sylvester) Stallone and triggered a third World War in Rocky IV. We view him as a serious threat to our national security,” said Obama. “I am personally ordering round the clock CIA surveillance on this merciless Swedish warrior.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry first addressed the sanctions in an interview on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. “It is hostile, arrogant and irresponsible for Sweden to levy these sanctions against American politicians. We know what’s best for our citizens. One man’s gravy is another man’s poison.”
Later in the interview, Kerry speculated on Sweden’s true motivations. “Sweden is using these measures to protect its own economic interests. Political leaders in Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia treat their citizens in a deplorable fashion. But Sweden isn’t escalating efforts on behalf of those suffering people. Why? Because there is not a single IKEA store to speak of in those regions.”
Statements endorsing Sweden’s sanctions are expected to come from the leaders of Finland, Canada, Australia and Texas. Meanwhile a high-profile actor with a unique perspective on the situation has already voiced his support.
Alexander Skarsgard, best known for his role as vampire Eric Northman on HBO’s True Blood, was born and raised in Sweden. He often works in the U.S. and has become well versed on the inner-workings of its government.
“U.S. politicians are interested in personal and party interests far more than in doing what’s best for the constituents who voted them into office,” said Skarsgard from the set of True Blood. “I’m proud my motherland is taking a stand against them. ‘Du gamla, du fria, du fjällhöga Nord, du tysta…’”
Skarsgard ended his rendition of the Swedish national anthem when a production assistant sheepishly reminded him for the eighth time, “Cameras are rolling.”
‘Pan the U.S. Government’ shirts were on backorder within three hours of Lofven’s announcement. Not all U.S. citizens, however, welcomed the prospects of Sweden’s help.
“I don’t trust those Swedes. America ain’t perfect; but this is a country where I get to say how crappy our government treats people like me without worryin’ ‘bout gettin’ thrown in jail. That’s pretty alright,” said Prichard Hollingsworth, a homeless man in Clay County, Kentucky. “Those freedoms more than make up for not havin’ a warm shower in 43 days and not seein’ a doctor for…I can’t even remember the last time.”
In response to people who question Sweden’s actions, Lofven cited a litany of evidence against the so-called Land of Liberty:
- Among a list of 34 developed countries, only Chile, Mexico and Turkey rank higher than the U.S. for income inequality.
- The U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world yet, among 11 industrialized nations studied, the U.S. ranks last overall on all three indicators of healthy lives – mortality amenable to medical care, infant mortality, and healthy life expectancy at age 60.
- A 2010 World Economic Forum study ranks the overall quality of America’s transportation infrastructure – roads, railways, ports and air-transport – at #23.
- America’s mass murder and homicide rates are the highest of any advanced industrialized country.
- On environmental issues in two key policy areas – protection of human health from environmental harm and protection of ecosystems – the U.S. ranks #33.
- A study of top education systems in the world ranks the U.S. #17. Another education study ranks the U.S. #18.
When asked what might be done if Sweden’s initial sanctions fail to elicit change, Lofven said he would offer every U.S. citizen who is not a politician 15% off MSRP on the Volvo XC70 wagon. Lofven remarked, “Once a member of the United States legislative, executive or judicial branches experiences the Swedish craftsmanship that went into the XC70, it will be like a fish-slap to the face when they learn they are not eligible for the generous 15% discount.”
Lofven also said he considered blocking movies made by Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom from playing on U.S. soil. He ultimately determined the collateral damage to innocent U.S. citizens, who would be deprived of cinematic masterpieces like Cider House Rules, Chocolat and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, proved too large a risk.
“Gilbert Grape was Leo(nardo Dicaprio)’s declaration to the world that he is, indeed, a serious actor,” said Lofven. “And seeing Michael Cain in Cider House was like immersing oneself in an acting master class. He struck not a single false note.”
Lofven concluded his press conference with words of hope for all U.S. citizens.
“My brave brothers and sisters of the United States:
If you need me, let me know, gonna be around
If you’ve got no place to go, if you’re feeling down
If you’re all alone when the pretty birds have flown
Remember you’ll be free
If you take a chance on me
Ba ba ba ba baa, ba ba ba ba baa”
Written by Simon Hamlin
‘The Organic Onion’