Remember that episode of Star Trek (original series) where Captain Kirk, Scotty, Dr. McCoy, and Lt. Uhura accidentally transported into a parallel universe which was an eerie mirror image of the real world? The Federation was an evil “Terran Empire.” Star Fleet officers moved up not by merit, but by assassinating their superiors. And mirror-universe Spock wore a cool goatee.

Well, sometimes I feel like I’ve just woken up in a political parallel universe. Otherwise, how else can we explain a world where:

Fidel Castro has admitted that Communism has failed in Cuba? And Cuba is adopting capitalist reforms?

The Europeans are lecturing us about the need to reduce government spending?

France is chiding us for being too soft on Iran?

Sweden refused to bail out its leading car manufacturer Saab, whereas the U.S. bailed out General Motors?

Russia wants to return to the gold standard to help solve the world financial crisis?

The Department of Justice, headed by an African-American attorney general in the administration of the first African-American president, orders its lawyers not to cooperate with a U.S. Civil Rights Commission investigation of voting rights violations?