2010: Dawn of the Terran Empire?

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?

Congressional Democrats who voted against "universal health care" are trumpeting that fact in their re-election campaigns, whereas those who voted for it are nervously changing the subject?

The NAACP praises Klansmen, while attacking African-American grassroots activists for standing up for their rights?

Liberals who cut their teeth during the Vietnam War and civil rights protests of the 1960s call for restoring the military draft?

A first lady who can't get her husband to stop smoking wants to give us healthy diet and lifestyle advice?

The New York Times advocates restricting the constitutional rights of American citizens who have committed no crimes?

A top Republican congressman touted as a defender of capitalism tells the Wall Street Journal that one of the legitimate functions of government is "securing some minimum standard of living"?

On the other hand, I do like the fact that bacon is now a health food.

I can no longer tell up from down.

I hope I wake up soon back in the normal universe. But if I don't, then at least maybe Michelle Obama can persuade her husband to grow a cool goatee.