Prayer works.

Prayer solves problems.

And prayer can heal injuries and cure sickness.

A study a few years ago in a cardiac Intensive Care Unit in a San Fransisco hospital, an experiment was conducted to measure the power of prayer:

The patients were divided into two groups. The names of the first group were passed out the following Sunday at area churches and parishioners were asked to pray for these very ill patients; the other group’s names were not passed out.

Guess what?

Those who were prayed for had a better recovery rate than the others!.

Indeed, the prayers of strangers for a stranger are heard by God - and often answered!

A week ago here in New York City during the transit strike, a brave 39-year old New York City firefighter, Matthew Long, was bicycling to work when a truck made an illegal tun and ran him over, breaking his pelvis, separating his shoulder and causing massive internal bleeding.

He was rushed to New York Hospital where he remains to this day in critical condition. He has had frequent blood transfusions. He remains in critical condition - with his family taking turns waiting and praying in the ICU for his recovery.

Matthew is a devoted athlete, having trained for triathalons; doctors think his physical conditioning may help him survive this disaster. Smartly, he was wearing a helmet that fateful morning and thus suffered no neurological damage.

Matt’s father is Mike Long, the Chairman of the New York State Conservative Party. Mike Long is a wonderful man, a devoted husband and father - and a true blue conservative who is a principled political leader.

Why don’t we all join together and pray as one for Matthew Long’s total and complete recovery?

Let us all pray - beginning today - and keep at it until this wonderful young man walks out of the hospital and resumes his career as a heroic firefighter.

And you can also call Chairman Long at New York State Conservative Headquarters and leave him a message of hope - and let him know we are all praying for his son’s recovery. Tell his secretary you read this column and want to join in a nation-wide prayer for Matthew. The phone number is 718-921-2158.

If we all ask God for His help then He will hear us. And hopefully Matt Long will soon be back saving others from fires and danger in New York City.

Thank you!

And Happy New Year to you all!

Next week will appear the Predictions 2006 column.


No sooner had the polls closed on Election Day three weeks ago - with yet another Tom Suozzi Democratic tsunami sweeping across Nassau County - that a familiar series of grumbles and complaints began anew in GOP circles: “He has to get out...”; “He’s gotta go...”; “Who is gonna have the guts to take him on?”; “How can we turn this mess around with him still in power?”

The ‘he” and ‘him’ is Nassau County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Mondello, who has held that post for 23 years. Mr. Mondello has presided over a recent series of political defeats that have reduced what was once the nation’s most powerful county Republican machine to a pedestrian, run-of-the mill local organization that has trouble even re-electing its own incumbents.

With internal morale at an all-time low and facing the prospect of a crucial 2006 state-wide election for governor in which Nassau could be a pivotal factor, long-time Nassau County Republican officials and leaders are faced with a predictable conundrum: they know they need new leadership and an entirely new image. But they also know that anyone with the courage to stick his head above ground and take Chairman Mondello on is likely to face the full force of a nasty retribution - unless, of course - the regicide is successful. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “when you strike at a king, you must kill him.”

Everyone agrees: the Nassau GOP cannot and will not recover and return to dominance unless and until the chairman is removed. He then must be replaced with newer, younger political leaders who are a clear break from the past image of Nassau GOP mismanagement and cronyism.

Twenty five years ago the Nassau County Republican Party was at its zenith: delivering a huge victory for Ronald Reagan, sending one of its own, Alphonse D’Amato, to the United States Senate and four Representatives to the US House.

Locally, the GOP controlled all three towns - North Hempstead, Oyster Bay and Hempstead - as well as all of the county-wide offices, with the exception of Democrat Dennis Dillon, the District Attorney.

The Nassau County GOP was so powerful under the leadership of long-time Chairman Joseph Margiotta that no less a political observer than former President Richard Nixon remarked, “Joe Margiotta is the best local political leader in the nation.” Margiotta lived and died politics; he involved himself in every detail of every campaign, from the selection of the candidates and the themes of the campaign all the way down to the colors on bumper stickers and buttons. Margiotta also brought national campaign techniques to local politics for the first time anywhere in the country. The Nassau GOP was the first county machine to hire a full-time pollster and campaign consultant and to run television ads.

After Margiotta’s controversial conviction for insurance fraud and subsequent resignation, Mondello assumed power in 1982 and adopted a caretaker style, content to ride the well-oiled machine as if it could run itself. Not enthralled with the nuts and bolts of political campaigns, Mondello often seemed distracted by his law practice and a self-appointed post at Nassau County Off Track Betting.

Still, the GOP kept control of most of the county, with only North Hempstead slipping into Democrat hands. However, other factors were developing that would ultimately bring the fall of the Nassau GOP:

1) After then-President George H.W. Bush broke his “Read My Lips - No New Taxes” pledge, it became political suicide for any GOP candidate or office-holder to raise taxes. Nassau County Executive Thomas Gulotta, harboring state-wide ambitions, knew he was sitting on a looming economic disaster in Nassau County in the 1990's as tax receipts fell, debt piled up and yet he refused to even discuss corresponding tax increases or service cuts. Chairman Mondello could have - and should have - stepped in behind the scenes for the good of the party and forced economic discipline on the County Executive. He did not. And the subsequent economic morass is his legacy.

2) Nassau County has seen a shift in its population demographics as more people move into the county from New York City. These new voters are disproportionately Democrats or Independents. Yet, despite this influx, Nassau Republicans still hold the registration advantage. The problem is so many Republican have twice now defected from their natural ‘home’ and voted for Suozzi’s ticket. The hangover from the county’s economic collapse has not subsided.

The Nassau County Republican Party should still win elections; all they have to do is to get their voters to vote Republican. But that has not happened for two straight county-wide elections. Clearly the lingering ‘infection’ from this bad GOP image has now spread to new, young and attractive candidates like Donald Clavin, the recently-defeated candidate for County Controller, who had nothing to do with the Gulotta years and ran a good and innovative campaign but was punished merely for being on the GOP ticket.

No party with such a negative image can flourish if good candidates are afraid to run for fear of losing due to events out of their control.

And no party can survive if a distracted leader repeatedly commits acts of political malpractice:

• Allowing the Conservative Party in 2001 to pick financier Bruce Bent, a political neophyte, as their County Executive candidate before the Nassau GOP had made its selection. Allowing the tail to wag the dog deeply undermined Republican morale.

• Simply ‘not asking’ the Independent Party for cross-endorsement for several local campaigns in 2002; the added line would have made the difference - and the Independent Party was more than happy to oblige. Mr. Mondello simply did not bother to ask.

• Television commercials this year that were described - by Republicans - as “awful,” “embarrassing,” and “un-watch able.”

• Such bungled fund-raising this year that an unprecedented last minute appeal was mailed to many GOP stalwarts in mid-October asking for a whopping $5,000 contribution - for a campaign that was already hopeless - and that was mismanaged from the very beginning.

(Joe Mondello has always been extremely courteous and friendly to me. This is not a sour grapes personal complaint; I have never asked him or the Nassau GOP for anything - and I want nothing from them. This is bigger than Chairman Mondello’s feelings; this is about the future of the Nassau Republican Party.)

It is time for a new face for the Nassau County Republican Party - and a plan to create a new image for the party.

The Plan:

• Stop attacking Tom Suozzi. He has just won re-election with an overwhelming mandate from the voters. Leave him alone, let him run for governor and over time perhaps his arrogance and ego will become apparent to the voters. We Republicans need to focus instead on fixing our own house.

• Under a new GOP chairman, we need to do what we used to do best: be a grass-roots political organization that earns the loyalty and devotion of our voters. Today, with the Internet, this is the new wave of modern political organization. We need to re-create the block-by-block committee structure that ensures that the party and the voter remain in constant touch with each other.

• Our new Chairman must become the face of the Nassau County Republican Party. Thus he or she must be new, young, attractive, able to speak well on television and, most of all, not tied to the past mess that continues to drag us down.

• The party must become hip to new issues - from urban encroachment, the rise in gang violence and excessive property taxes - to tolerance for both sides of the abortion issue.

• The party has to renounce political cronyism and endorse government hiring by merit. Having “connections” has to be replaced by having the skill required to do the job.

• Most of all, the Nassau County GOP has to re-assert its belief in fiscal integrity and balanced budgets. This used to be the GOP’s trump card; we have now forsaken that advantage and must dedicate ourselves to trying to earn it back.

None of this can or will happen until Joe Mondello leaves GOP headquarters in Westbury.

John LeBoutillier was a Republican Member of the US Congress (1981-1983) from the 6th District. He is a lifelong resident of Old Westbury and is a political columnist for


In the middle of the ongoing debate over whether or not the Bush Administration lied to the nation in order to get public and Congressional approval to invade Iraq is the question of the intelligence shown to the Congress.

Defenders of the Administration cavalierly claim, “Oh, the Congress saw the same intelligence that the President saw.”

Nothing - absolutely nothing - could be farther from the truth.

‘Intelligence’ - that information produced by CIA, NSA, NRO, DIA and the service intelligence agencies - is all Executive Branch product. In other words, the Executive Branch owns it, edits it, restricts it, decides who sees what and when.

Congress has limited power - and thus a limited ability - to see what they want. Basically they are at the mercy of the Executive Branch.

I often tell an amusing story: in 1981, soon after being sworn in as a US Representative and being selected for the Foreign Affairs Committee, I attended a ‘closed’ committee meeting to review the Iranian Hostage Crisis - which had just ended.

The meeting room was cleared of all staff. CIA personnel came in and gave each Member a sealed file folder. I was so excited to think that I was now - finally - going to read the real inside story of what happened behind the scenes for the last 444 days as our hostages were held in Tehran.

A CIA man signaled our committee chairman who then said, “You may now break the seals and open your files.” My heart rate increased.

I tore the seal and opened the file folder.

Inside were pages of reproduced copies of selected articles from the WASHINGTON POST and NEW YORK TIMES. Period!

That was the secret, classified ‘intelligence’ CIA was sharing with the US House of Representatives!

Over the subsequent years - especially through my devotion to the issue of American POWs abandoned by the US Government at the end of the Vietnam War and still held against their will in Vietnam and Laos - I have learned much about how the Executive Branch intelligence operation works:

1) CIA ‘places’ their staffers all over the government. Thus, Congressional staffs are infiltrated by CIA people who are there to keep an eye on things and to ‘steer’ investigations toward an outcome the CIA is happy with;

2) CIA places staffers over in the Pentagon, inside the State Department - even the White House - all to spy on those departments;

3) The Intelligence Community is in the business of “keeping secrets.” Thus, how do we know what they are not telling. It is very likely that along with not sharing much with the Congress, they don’t even tell everything they know to the President - or even to the CIA Director or the newly-created National Intelligence Czar.

4) Back to the Iraqi situation: back in the fall of 2002, Senators and Representatives were falling all over themselves to blast Saddam and Iraq for having WMDs. They claimed to have seen the intelligence of such weaponry. Now that the war has soured, these same Senators i.e. John Kerry, Hillary and scores of others, claim that they were “lied to.”

Were they?

Yes - and no.

They were ‘manipulated’ by the Executive Branch into voting for the authorization to use force.

This manipulation was done by the selective use of some intelligence that backed up the Administrations claims - but the Congress was not shown the contrary evidence that mitigated the pro-war intelligence, such as the true story behind Curveball’s assertions.

However, these Senators were so eager to be seen as hawks that they wanted to blast Saddam - regardless of the intelligence. How can you trust these elected officials anyway? If they were lied to, they allowed it to happen! They didn’t question the intelligence, they didn’t demand certain things, they didn’t threaten their ultimate weapon -withholding of budget funding - if they were misled.

No, they happily were complicit in this Kabuki Theater whereby a phony case of Saddam’s WMDs was made in order to get the American people riled up in the wake of 9/11.

Not so easily manipulated were our long-time allies such as Canada who, when shown the intelligence, refused to join in the Iraq campaign because they saw nothing that worried them. (Keep in mind that Canada has fought with us in every war of the last century - until Iraq.)

This is an ongoing scandal of epic proportions: that the USA would launch a pre-emptive invasion based on faulty - or false - intelligence is an incredible crime.

We, as a nation, are only just now coming to grips with the enormity of this manipulation.

Guess what?

Other similar manipulations of intelligence have occurred. Look for that information to come out soon.


1) Next week’s elections will go off with minimal trouble. We have upped our troop strength to 165,000 to ensure a peaceful Election Day. We have already successfully run 2 nation-wide Iraqi elections this year so we have that drill down pretty well. So look for a peaceful election day next Thursday, December 15th.

2) It is after the election that things will get interesting. What will this new Iraqi government look like? Will the Sunnis participate - peacefully - or will they renew their role in the insurgency? Will the Shia dominate the new Iraq? Prediction: Iran will wield huge influence after the elections - especially in the southern - Shia - region (where most of the oil is). And the new government will be predominantly fundamentalist Shia - not good for the USA.

3) The insurgency will not abate one bit after the election. The Iranians, the Syrians and Osama bin Laden’s Al Quada agents all want to ‘defeat’ America and humiliate us there so they will escalate the violence.

4) The new Iraqi Army will not prove to be effective enough to handle the internal strife. More and more it will be seen that many Iraqi troops are also members of the insurgency - thus confirming the typical behavior of “playing both sides” in that part of the world. They are untrustworthy soldiers.

5) The Kurds will soon make noise - again - about seceding from Iraq and creating an independent new Kurdistan - which the Turks are violently against. (The current Iraqi president is a Kurd and in the constitution they have the ability to leave at a future date.)

6) Militias will be the new Flavor of the Month: all the Shia clerics have their own private militias who are already running around doing ‘ethic cleansing’ and ‘score settling.’ But once this election is over and we know the final composition of the new parliament, these Militias will escalate their ethnic rivalries; there are many scores to settle from the 35 years of Ba’ath Party rule. The Shia have long memories and will do to Saddam’s followers what he did to them. (This has already begun in the Interior Ministry basement where th Shia have now been torturing Sunnis in the very same torture devices Saddam’s thugs used.)

7) American troop levels will come down a bit - but not too much - by next Spring. Perhaps 30,000 troops will be withdrawn - about the amount we added in to get ready for the next week’s elections. But no one today knows what the future will hold on the ground in Iraq. We can’t withdraw too many troops if there is mayhem on the ground. President Bush doesn’t want to look as if we were ‘driven out.”

8) Something weird will happen with Saddam before he is executed. Perhaps a major attempt by Sunni insurgents to break him out of jail; or perhaps a major suicide bomber attack on the trial and jailhouse. His followers are crazy - and will do something crazy to try to free him or to make him a heroic Muslim martyr. Watch for this.

9) Iraq will continue to dominate the American political scene for all of 2006 - with those who oppose the war growing by the month.

10) More people will be indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald.

11) The anti-war Left will give Hillary a tough time; they already are picketing her office and harassing her. She has reacted by trying to play both sides of the issue and that has only exacerbated her truthfulness problems.

12) In the end, the War in Iraq will go down as one of America’s biggest foreign policy blunders.


Here is a pot pouri of political observations and thoughts:

1) Last week’s stunning resignation and admission of guilt by former Congressman Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham is not in any way indicative of ‘something’ wrong with Republican leadership. The Cunningham case is unique. Sure, many in a cynical time want to believe that most Congressmen are corrupt, but they are not. In fact, in my time in Congress I found Members - on both sides - to be financially careful and above-board.

Yes, there is another type of corruption that is rampant in politics: intellectual corruption where an elected official pontificates and promises action on every subject under the sun - even when they in fact know little or nothing of what they speak.

This happens too often - and unsuspecting constituents actually believe that their Congressman or Senator will do what they pledged to do.

The facts are otherwise: legislators have little individual power; they do have collective power but each Member runs around acting as if he/she is the CEO of the Federal Government.

Call it arrogance or ego - or both - but too much is promised by these ‘intellectually challenged’ officials.

2) The Abramoff Scandal is a different kettle of tea altogether. In this case, the most influential DC lobbyist seems to have bought access all over Washington - especially in the House of Representatives. The Justice Department has a full-blown investigation underway and rumors are flying that up to six US Congressmen and at least one Senator may be implicated.

This type of scandal - favors or money in return for that all-important DC commodity: access to power - seems to crop up every decade or so in Washington.

It comes in part because the party in power is too secure and too ‘comfortable’ - and thus they grow arrogant in their power.

It is a good sign of our government that a Republican Justice Department is investigating Republican Congressmen. No one can say that the corruption has ‘infected’ the entire government.

3) Hillary is going to sail to re-election here in New York as the GOP in the Empire State has totally imploded. Their hand-picked Senate candidate, Westchester DA Jeannine Pirro, is a total disaster. The governor - after urging her to run - has now begun trying to convince her to drop out. Her husband, according to today’s New York Post, is secretly trying to arrange for her to be ‘forced’ out of a sure-fire losing race - without her knowing!

Pataki and Mr. Pirro want her to run instead for Attorney General, a race that the Republicans could conceivably win. However, her performance on the big stage of this senate race has been so desultory that her image may be forever tarnished.

The lesson? Hand-picked candidates selected because they are politically correct, i.e. a woman to run against Hillary, are almost always disasters. Merit and candidate skills should be more important that one’s gender.

Jeannine Pirro is a lousy candidate. Period. Just because her husband is a powerful lobbyist should not have allowed her to get on the big stage.

4) In 2008 - and maybe in the 2006 election here in New York - Hillary is going to have more trouble than anyone thought from her anti-war left.

Cindy Sheehan has targeted Hillary for being ‘complicit’ in the Iraq war - and has twice demonstrated outside Hillary’s New York City office.

The Left - always thought to be the preserve of Hillary - may end up causing her more trouble than we thought.

Hillary - a true leftist radical - has angered these people by voting a hawkish position on the war in Iraq. And then last week she tried to appease her left by blaming Bush for her 2002 vote to authorize the use of force. The reaction about her typical ‘Clintonian play-both-sides excuse’ has been universally condemned as crass and political.

She may end up being judged as ‘too cute by half’ - (probably the only time ‘Hillary’ and ‘cute’ have been used in the same sentence!)

5) Moktadr Al Sadr, the black-robed Shia cleric, is running a slate of Shia candidates in the December 15 Iraqi elections. Our government has praised this development.

Hmmm...interesting. Last we heard, this guy had several outstanding arrest warrants for murder. US Marines were dispatched to Fallujah to try to capture him. We never did get him.

Instead he remains free as a bird protected by his own militia. And we now praise him for participating in the elections.

As Don King might say, “Only in Iraq!”