1) IRAQ: The January 30 elections will happen amid outbreaks of terrorist attacks on polling places. But the real story will be the overt new alliance between the radical Muslims running Iran and the new Shiite majority government that will win the most seats in the Iraqi election.

Iraq will not ask - yet - the Americans to leave; rather they will want the American soldiers to stay and calm down the disgruntled Sunni Muslims after their defeat at the polls.

By the end of 2005 over 65% of Americans will judge the war in Iraq as a failed venture. Indeed, we will be ‘bogged’ down as the insurgency increases and more and more American soldiers die.

2) G.W. BUSH: 2005 will see him do well inside DC - and poorly outside. With total GOP control in the Senate and House, he will have no trouble with appointments and confirmations. Social Security Reform will go nowhere.

But Iraq will color Bush’s year. As Iraq goes, so, too, will the President’s fortunes. And as Iraq deteriorates so will Mr. Bush’s standing.

3) ECONOMY: America’s trade imbalance and dollar weakness will continue but the stock market will grow steadily. The economy will grow, too, but not explosively.

4) Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist will die from his thyroid cancer. Justice Antonin Scalia will be elevated to Chief Justice.

5) More and more miracle medical success stories will emerge from experimental stem cell research. Some will come from embryonic stem cells and others from umbilical cord cells. But the rush will be ‘on’ for more research dollars and a furious competition will break out worldwide.

6) Hillary will remain far, far ahead of any competitor for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. She and Bill will be scouting for a new Perot-type 3rd candidate to suck GOP votes away from the 2008 GOP candidate - just the way Perot did in 1992. (More on this in a future column.)

7) Dick Cheney will start planning his own 2008 presidential campaign. If Jeb Bush runs, Cheney will not; but in case Jeb opts out, Cheney will run - and has a good chance of winning the GOP nomination in a multi-candidate field.

8) Rudy Giuliani will score well in GOP name-recognition polls (that’s all these polls are 3 years before the primaries) for 2008 - but he is totally unacceptable to conservatives. The Bernie Kerik fiasco is but one example of socially-libertine people Rudy hangs with. The GOP Base will never accept Rudy; he is pro-gay rights, pro-choice, three times married, girl-friends all over the place in his past and he lived with two gay guys when wife #2 heaved him out of Gracie Mansion. That ain’t going to fly in the Republican primaries.

9)The New York State GOP will not be able to get anyone worth beans to run against Hillary for her Senate seat in 2006.

10) Author Ed Klein’s new book on Hillary will be a big, big hit.

11) Scandal: the Big Scandal referred to here in the past may or may not blow open this year. It is close - of that I am certain - but, having predicted it in the past - wrongly - I am hesitant to predict that 2005 will finally be The Year it breaks into public view. Let me re-state this: it is a Huge Scandal which reaches deep into our federal government and into both political parties. It is a devastating indictment of our government and many, many current and past big-name politicians including presidents and senators. I am not objective; I hope the truth will come out. So maybe my own bias affects this prediction. Thus I make no prediction. It may happen. Or it may not. Only God knows.

12) Media: Fox News will continue to grow; CNN will decline: MSNBC will wake up and begin a move to the Right; the 3 broadcast networks will continue to decline in news viewership. Rather’s replacement will be a total bore - no matter who they select.

Happy New Year to you all!!!


Have you ever wondered, “What is the purpose of my life?”

Or, “Why am I here?”

Or have you ever felt worthless - as if you didn’t count - and that the world would be “just the same without me”? And that you “make absolutely no difference in the course of the world”?

Well, everyone has those thoughts - doubt is part of life - but have no doubt about one thing: God has created us all for a specific reason. One of the hardest things in life is determining our individual destiny - and our true purpose in life.

Last week I wrote of the Power of Prayer. Prayer is, indeed, the single most powerful tool at our disposal. It is our own way of conversing with God - both asking and listening.

Too often people get “off course” by listening to the wrong people: peers, competitors, the pop culture icons who so influence our behavior, false idols and malicious people. What we should listen to is our own conscience - that little voice that tells us what is right and what is wrong.

This ‘voice’ is the voice of God in us - helping us, guiding us, steering us toward His destiny for us.

When you defy that voice, you are going to pay a heavy penalty. The Consciousness of Guilt is clear to all. Just look at Scott Peterson denying he killed his wife and unborn son - or Bill Clinton denying he “ever had sex with that woman.” Their guilt is clear on their faces - and they have somehow tried to defy God and what is right - and they know they were wrong.

Don’t you just know that before they committed their sins - or crimes - Peterson and Clinton and others - knew what they were doing was wrong? Didn’t that ‘voice’ tell them not to do it?

Of course it did!

But they went ahead and did it anyway.

They did not listen to their conscience. And because of that, their lives will forever be changed.

On the other hand, those that do listen often reap great rewards. The late Justin Dart, a very successful Los Angeles businessman and supporter of Ronald Reagan, once told me a story of how some guys came to him one day with a business proposal. They wanted Mr. Dart to invest heavily in a new concept. He listened, and then declined. He went home that night, thought about it all night and couldn’t sleep a wink. A ‘voice’ kept telling him he had made a big mistake by declining this business opportunity.

First thing the next morning he called the guys back and said, “I’ve changed my mind. I want to do it.”

Guess what? The ‘idea’ was Tupper Ware - and Mr. Dart made tens of millions of dollars.

He listened to that ‘voice’ and it was a positive experience with positive results.

OK, Peterson’s crimes and Mr. Dart’s successes are extremes that most of us can not relate to. But the lessons are clear: listening to your conscience - to God - is God’s way of directing us.

Now, what is the purpose of your life? Is there one?

Yes, indeed, there is. Every single one of us has a purpose; the key is figuring it out.

It does not have to be as a President or as a business tycoon or someone famous; perhaps being a good parent, a good worker, a good citizen - a good friend to someone at a key moment in their life - or even something seemingly insignificant could be your destiny.

Have no fear: you are as important in the eyes of God as anyone. And you have a duty to live your life as honestly as you can.

You have a duty to ‘listen’ to His guidance through that little ‘voice’ - as well as to ask for help.

America is at a crisis point these days. Too many people have chosen to listen to the wrong people uttering the wrong message.

To save this country we need to re-dedicate ourselves to listening only to the ‘voice’ delivering the right message.


Prayer is the single most powerful tool we have on Earth.

And yet so many people misunderstand it - or ignore it altogether.

Prayer is our ability to talk directly to God - and to listen to God tell us how to live our lives.

Those who ignore prayer - and God, too - are missing the best part of life.

Here is the simple truth: God created us all. But He didn’t stop there. He takes an interest in each and every one of us. He wants us to live a happy life - and a life of service to Him and thus to good causes and pursuits.

When He saw mankind veer way, way off the path He dispatched his only son to Earth to teach human beings the correct way to live.

Jesus Christ’s short life was full of amazing examples of sacrifice and sharing and goodness and forgiveness.

Jesus’ mission was to serve as a living, human example of the contrast between the ‘right’ way to live and the ‘wrong’ way.

Jesus had to suffer an agonizing death in order to demonstrate man’s cruelness - and God’s belief that serving others is noble and the suffering is a required ingredient to doing good things.

The Bible - the greatest book ever written - in today’s vernacular is a software manual on how to live a proper and productive life.

Replete with examples of bad behavior and subsequent ‘penalties’ for such behavior, the Bible attempts to show us the ‘right’ way to live.

Sticking to this analogy, prayer is ‘tech support.’ In trouble? Call ‘tech support’ by simply talking to God.

You do not have to go to church to pray; nor do you have to drop to your knees and clasp your hands together(although that is also fine if you choose that way to pray).

The key is this: asking God for help is exactly what we are supposed to do!

Do not feel guilty or selfish about asking God for help for yourself! If you don’t ask, who is going to ask in your behalf?

Prayer is meant to be your unique way to communicate with God - directly - not through anyone else - and to tell Him your problems and worries and to ask for help for yourself and for others.

And do you know something? In almost every case, God will answer your prayers. The solution may not be exactly what you at first envisioned, but as you look back over life and reflect on your worst days, you will see that turning to God in those instances almost always helped solve the problem.

Why is prayer so misunderstood?

Because there is not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do it and because it is Politically Incorrect to talk too much about it. In an era when Macy’s no longer calls its famous New York City Christmas Tree a ‘Christmas tree’ - they now call it a ‘Holiday tree’ - talking about prayer is just not as prevalent as it should be.

But we all need to realize something: without God we are nothing.

But with God we can do anything - anything at all.

Prayer is our way of having God help us, guide us, teach us, comfort us and assure us each and every day.

So do not be afraid to have your own private discussion with God. Feel free to ask Him questions and to lay out your worries.

But also do one other thing: listen to His reply which may come in an inner voice, or in your ‘conscience’ or in your inner ‘feeling.’ If it persists, then pay attention to it for He may be directing you.

Conversations - with God or anyone else - are two-way communications. So listening is sometimes even more important that talking.

Prayer is a gift. So cherish this power. And use it wisely.


The mess in the Ukraine is directly attributable to the left-over Communists still in power there - and in Moscow.

Let us not fool ourselves: Russian President Vladimir Putin is and always was a die-hard Communist KGB agent.

To think otherwise would be naive.

And yet President George W. Bush said Putin “had a soul” when they first met four years ago.

Well, guess what? If Putin had a soul, then the KGB never would have hired him in the first place!

Putin and his repressive agents are desperate over what is happening today in next-door Ukraine; this is an out-and-out war between the Communist past and a Free future - and the bad guys are playing dirty in order to hold onto power.

To many of us the Battle in Kiev is of no seeming importance. We have enough to worry about here not to mention Iraq, Iran and other worldly problems. But the historic confrontation going on inside Ukraine will have much to do with our future, too.

If Putin - who is re-instating massive government control inside Russia - wins in Ukraine, he will be re-establishing the firmament of the old Soviet Empire: Russia and Ukraine combined equal almost 200 million people with vast agricultural and industrial capacity.

The Ukraine - bordering Poland and Hungary and other now-free former Soviet Communist satellites - is the buffer between Russia and the West. If it tilts away from Moscow, then Russia is truly ‘all alone.’ The idea of NATO reaching all the way to Russia’s borders is completely mind-boggling!

And Vladimir RAS-Putin must be shaking in his boots over the thought of all of Russia’s eastern satellites becoming part of the West!

This East vs. West fight is still the epic battle of our time: a war between individual liberty versus state control of our lives. And so far, the West has won all the battles since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Yes, there are times when the two sides need to work together. The War Against Fundamentalist Islam is such a cause; Putin has been helpful to us because he, too, is under grave threat inside Russia from Muslims angered over the situation in Chechnya.

But let us not fool ourselves: Putin is not our friend and he is not on our side. And he is not on the side of freedom either.

He re-consolidation of state control of the Russian media and corporations and his removal of elected officials to be replaced by his own appointees smacks of Stalinist control.

Putin has also blatantly meddled in the internal politics of the Ukraine. All during this round of elections he actually campaigned along side and for the hard-line Prime Minister. Can you imagine a foreign leader coming into another country and actually campaigning for or against a candidate?

This is unprecedented!

And Putin has been greatly harmed by this typical act of Russian arrogance. He now has had to back-track and agree that new elections are needed in Ukraine. But how much do you want to bet that he and the corrupt outgoing Ukrainian President Kuchma are already planning on how to swipe yet another election?

The United States would be greatly mistaken to believe a word from Vladimir Putin - or from any other ‘former’ Communist official.

The entire ‘collapse’ of communism wasn’t quite what it seemed: almost all of the formerly communist governments of Eastern Europe are still having their government bureaucracies run by the very same communist apparatchicks as before - only now they say they are not communists.

It is the people of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe who forced the commies to relinquish some of their power. But the commies were smart: rather than fight it until it led to a bloody confrontation and they were dragged out of their offices and shot ala the evil Ceaucescu family in Romania, they ‘joined’ it! And then they stayed in power!

Thus, the battle for Kiev today is indeed a battle between the good guys and the bad guys.

Make no mistake about it: Vladimir Putin is evil. And a liar. And corrupt.

Let us hope no American - a president or anyone else - thinks otherwise.