Just in case anyone still remembers me, I am preparing to emerge from my long hibernation overseas and get back into the swing of things - starting with some tenth-anniversary observances for America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It.
Meanwhile, there's a gazillion-and-one emails piled up demanding to know what I make of Trump vs Hillary in the final stretch. My view of Hillary hasn't changed in decades (she's the stinkingly corrupt enabler of a depraved sexual monster) and my view of Trump hasn't changed since I wrote about him a couple of weeks after he entered the race.
P*ssygate? Sorry, I decline to play by Washington Post rules. Every GOP nominee is a sexist pig: last time round, it was poor blameless Mitt with his "binders full of women" and his long track record of giving cancer to laid-off workers' wives. The fact that this particular nominee for once actually is a vainglorious sexist is not even interesting in a media stopped-clock kind of way - because Trump has more or less been advertising the fact on the Howard Stern show for a quarter-century. So the story is chiefly of note as a near parodic example of the ludicrously lop-sided standards applied to Democrats and Republicans: I mean, the alternative to a Trump victory is the restoration to the White House of a credibly accused rapist and serial abuser, accompanied by the woman who has gleefully trashed his victims for 40 years. This race would be very different if Juanita Broaddrick and "You might want to put some ice on that" had received a thousandth of the media coverage given to Alicia Machado and "Miss Piggy":
In 1998 I was covering the impeachment trial in the US Senate for the UK Telegraph and Canada's National Post and various other non-US outlets when Juanita Broaddrick's story bubbled up around the Capitol. NBC's Lisa Myers:
The good news is you're credible. The bad news is you're very credible.
But Ms Myers' colleagues throughout the American media covered their eyes and ears. And they've been covering them for almost 20 years:
BROADDRICK: I was completely dressed. I had a skirt and a blouse. He tore the waist of my skirt. And then he ripped my pantyhose. And he raped me. It was very vicious. I was just pinned down... I did not know what to do. I was so frightened. I was only 35 at the time. And it was horrible. I just wanted it to be over with. So he would go away.
KLEIN: He got up?
BROADDRICK: No, he held me down for a long time. And then he did it again. I was so ready for him to leave me alone, when he started raping me again. And it was very brief... And he did get up and he straightened himself. And my mouth was bleeding and it was hurting. And he just straightens himself and goes to the door.
KLEIN: With you still on the bed?
BROADDRICK: Yes, crying. He straightens himself and he goes to the door. And puts on his sunglasses. And tells me to get some ice on that on my lip. And goes out the door... He would push down on my left clavicle and it hurt so much I thought my clavicle was gonna break. And my lip was just ballooning out four times the size that it should have been.
KLEIN: While he was raping you?
This is the man pearl-clutching Republicans are abandoning a vulgar braggart for - in order to install a rapist as "First Gentleman".
~I am thousands of miles from the scene of Sunday's debate and will be unable to see it. But, as I noted well over a year ago, during one of the first of Trump's many self-inflicted distractions, it was the issues he raised that powered his rise - particularly the transformation of America (and millions of American lives) through the dissolution of the border. It was an unusual package: the right issues championed by an openly flawed candidate. Me on July 20th 2015:
The problem is you can't out-asshole Donald Trump... Personally, I'd like it if Calvin Coolidge were on the ticket, or indeed the Marquess of Salisbury. But they've decided to sit out Campaign 2016, so one must take what one can get. And a citizenry that votes for an asshole is less deluded than one that votes for a messiah ...and, come to that, less damaging to republican virtue than voting for the previous guy's wife or brother.
But, as I've already said, I've already said all that. Which is a bit of an occupational hazard for a writer. Speaking of demographic transformation, don't miss our anniversary commemorations of America Alone - because, notwithstanding Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell, it remains the biggest story of our time.
~For a musical accompaniment to our America Alone observances, don't forget to swing by our Song of the Week department.