Entries from Feb 2015
Mike Barnicle and Congressman Mark Sanford discuss DHS funding

In light of the Republican’s recent, unexpected rejection of short-term funding for the Department of Homeland Security, take a look back at Thursday’s discussion between Mike Barnicle and Congressman Mark Sanford (R-SC) about the House Republicans’ threat to shut down the department over immigration issues, which would force its most visible employees—TSA agents—to work for deferred pay. “How could you sit there in the Capitol, getting paid for working a two or three-day workweek…? How in good conscience could you do that?,” Mike asks Rep. Sanford. Watch his response on msnbc’s Morning Joe.

Mike Barnicle talks to Navy SEAL Kevin Lacz about ‘American Sniper’

On Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle talks with former U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Kevin “Dauber” Lacz, friend of the late Chris Kyle, author of American Sniper and the subject of of the film of the same name. Lacz worked with Bradley Cooper, who starred as Kyle, and director Clint Eastwood on the film version of Kyle’s story. “In the movie, one scene stands out to me,” says Mike. “Clearly Chris Kyle, as played by Bradley Cooper, didn’t want his son to ever have to do what he had to do. Did it hit you at all?,” asks Mike. Listen to Lacz share his personal experience on msnbc.

Mike Barnicle talks to co-author of “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror”...

“What would be the primary goal of ISIS? The establishment of a caliphate or to actively engage the United States military on the ground again in the Middle East?,” Mike Barnicle asks Foreign Policy columnist Michael Weiss on msnbc’s Morning Joe. Listen to the conversation here.

Mike Barnicle and TIME’s Nancy Gibbs discuss ISIS

Nancy Gibbs, managing editor for TIME magazine, talks with Mike Barnicle and the Morning Joe team about the magazine’s latest coverage of ISIS. Mike asks: “What about the fact that the Iranians are in Iraq and now dealing with Iraqi troops far more than the United States is?” Listen to their conversation on msnbc.

Mike Barnicle talks to Tom Hanks and Tom Brokaw about WWII

Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and NBC News’ Tom Brokaw joined Mike Barnicle and the Morning Joe team to discuss recent National WWII Museum honors for their work in telling the stories of World War II. “Your mission is to keep these [WWII] memories alive, but how do you keep doing that in a culture with so many disparate elements?,” asks Mike of Hanks and Brokaw. Hear Tom Hanks’ response here. Only on MSNBC.

Mike Barnicle talks to Elizabeth Warren about the Middle Class Prosperity Projec...

On Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle speaks with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) about the launch of the Middle Class Prosperity Project, focusing on Democratic solutions to the decline in middle-class prosperity since 1980, including issues like child care and student loan reforms. Asks Mike: “Your message is encouraging to people, but what are the prospects for passage of legislation in the near future?.” Hear Sen. Warren’s answer here.

Mike Barnicle talks to Ann Curry about US-Iran nuclear negotiations

Just back from covering US-Iran talks in Geneva, NBC News’ Ann Curry talks with Mike Barnicle and the Morning Joe team about progress in the latest round of negotiations. “What level of trust is there between Sec. of State John Kerry and the Iranians, and what would cause this trust to be there?,” asks Mike. Listen to Ann Curry’s response here.

Mike Barnicle and Senator Ron Johnson debate DHS-related bill

Mike Barnicle asks Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) about Republican support for including provisions to tackle President Barack Obama’s actions on immigration in a bill meant to fund the Department of Homeland Security. “It’s not the right way to do it,” says Mike. “A lot of people don’t understand why these bills are combined in the first place. It’s like going to the grocery store and paying your grocery bill and the cashier suddenly says to you, ‘oh, you’ve got to pay your home heating bill here too or you don’t get your groceries.’ Why not split the two and vote on them separately?,” continues Mike during the conversation with Sen. Johnson on Morning Joe. Watch it here.

For The Daily Beast: Rudy Giuliani’s Rag...

Mike’s latest article for The Daily Beast. He writes about former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his recent self-inflicted knock out.

Rudy Giuliani’s Raging Bull


Mike Barnicle breaks down new Major League Baseball rules

Baseball is about to get a little faster! On Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle breaks down the new rules announced by Major League Baseball aimed at quickening the pace-of-play and appealing to new fans. View the new rules here and share your thoughts on the current state of the game.

Mike Barnicle and David Ignatius discuss developments in the Middle East

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius appeared on Morning Joe to share new insight with Mike Barnicle and the team from his recent trip to the Middle East. “Will the countries in question this morning—Iraq, Syria and Libya—ever come back to what they once were five or six years ago?,” asks Mike. Listen to hints of hope in David’s response here.

Mike Barnicle reacts to Rudy Giuliani’s criticism of President Obama

“What we have now—and we’re paying attention to—is a publicity-seeking, self-absorbed, egomaniac who is on the fringe of the politics of his own party,” says Mike Barnicle in response to Rudy Giuliani’s latest use of his 9-11 experience as an attack on President Barack Obama. Watch Mike and Donny Deutsch’s reactions on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

ISIS beheading figure could be American

On Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle and the team discuss the latest details in the battle against ISIS. “It’s the cockroach theory. You stamp them out in Aleppo and they’re going to reappear somewhere else. ISIS depends on territory for its strength, they are unlike Al-Qaeda, and where they are now is within urban populations. House-to-house urban fighting in Syria is not something that any American will want to be in favor of,” says Mike. Watch the MSNBC conversation here.

ISIS beheading figure could be American


Mike Barnicle and U.S. State Department’s Marie Harf discuss religious ext...

On Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle talks to U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf—who recently came under media criticism for suggesting job creation as a way to fight ISIS—about collective, long-term strategies in combating terrorism threats worldwide. “It’s not just about the Middle East,” says Mike. Watch the conversation only on MSNBC.

Mike Barnicle and Senator Blumenthal discuss military response to terrorism

“People are exhausted from the last 13 years of war. We have an exhausted nation… because of the wars we’ve been fighting. But isn’t there an opening for some public person to speak to this country about the fact that we’re going to be in a ‘sort-of-war’ even longer… because we’re fighting an ideology that will not go away?,” Mike Barnicle asks Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Committee on Armed Services. Watch the Morning Joe discussion with Sen. Blumenthal about the evolving military response to terrorism.

Mike Barnicle and General Hayden discuss inner struggles in Middle East

Mike Barnicle speaks with Ret. Gen. Michael Hayden, who joins Morning Joe again to discuss the increasingly complex struggles in the Middle East and the need for “tough love” toward our allies. “How do we participate in helping our ‘friends’ move forward in that region of the world? And what are the principle differences between Al-Qaeda and ISIS… is there any potential for ending up with two scorpions in a bottle fighting each other?,” asks Mike. Listen to the General’s answers here.

Mike Barnicle asks about frustrations among U.S. foreign policy strategists

Continuing the conversation on ISIS, Mike Barnicle and Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News’ Chief Pentagon Correspondent, address the likely strain between the U.S. government’s foreign policy strategists. “What would you consider to be the level of tension that exists between policymakers in the Pentagon and the White House’s National Security Council?,” asks Mike. Watch the conversation here from this morning’s Morning Joe.

Mike Barnicle asks about allies on the ground in the fight against ISIS

“Who does the Pentagon think their allies—in terms of fighting ISIS on the ground—are in the Middle East?,” Mike Barnicle asks Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News’ Chief Pentagon Correspondent, about the complicated approach toward fighting ISIS inside Iraq. Listen to Jim’s response on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Mike Barnicle talks about Middle East opposition to terrorism

On Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle and the team discuss the debate surrounding President Obama’s politically correct terminology when describing terrorism in the Middle East. “Beneath the surface of all this, I don’t think you can measure the amount of hatred and misunderstanding there is of the United States… The point people in this fight against ISIS have to be the big three: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. They are the ones that are going to have to put a face on opposition,” says Mike. Watch the MSNBC conversation here.

For The Daily Beast: Kayla Mueller: The ...

The 26-year-old aid worker taken by ISIS left Arizona to help a people suffering through civil war. Now, her courage should remind us of all the good we’re still capable of.

Kayla Mueller: The Best of America

The 26-year-old aid worker taken by ISIS left Arizona to help a people suffering through civil war. Now, her courage should remind us of all the good we’re still capable of.

She looks quite happy in the pictures displayed last week in most American newspapers and on TV. She is smiling, the smile speaking for itself, saying “I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do.”

Her name is Kayla Mueller. She is 26 years old, a resident of two places: Prescott, Arizona and the world. And until last week not that many people knew that she had been kidnapped off a street in Aleppo, Syria and has been held hostage by ISIS since August 2013.

Her name became truly famous only when the media wing of the crazed, criminal and murderous cult that is ISIS claimed she had been killed in a bombing raid conducted by the Jordanian Air Force. Jordan and its King flexed their military muscle after a young Jordanian pilot, another hostage held by ISIS, had been burned alive in a cage.

Today, the civilized world does not know whether she is dead or alive. That, due to the fact that a small tribe of demented killers—ISIS—has no moral compass or conscience and could still be holding her for a more macabre purpose.

What we do know however is this: Kayla Mueller is us. She is what the United States truly is, or used to be, even though that definition of who we are has been diminished across the last decade or so.

Kayla Mueller was working along the Turkish-Syrian border with a group from Doctors Without Borders. She was in the middle of one of the largest, most dangerous refugee problems in the world in a place where hundreds of thousands have been sentenced to a life wandering through a wasteland of a civil war that has destroyed Syria.

She wasn’t there for a big salary, media attention or the pursuit of celebrity. Clearly, what she was doing was who she was. And she was not a novice when it came to lending herself to those in need.

According to reports in her hometown newspaper she had volunteered at a women’s homeless shelter and a HIV-AIDS clinic in Prescott. Before she arrived in Turkey, she had been to India and Israel helping in refugee settlements there. She was learning Arabic to better communicate with those crushed and on the run from violence.

Then she was gone. On the morning that she was supposed to catch a bus in Aleppo for the return to Turkey she became one of “the disappeared”. And for all these months, from the summer of 2013 to last week, her parents along with a few family friends and the United States government wondered, worried and worked at gaining her release; that, every hour of every day.

But this week brings us back to a hideous reality of our present culture. The name—Kayla Mueller—is no longer the big news lede. Her story has dropped off most front pages and the top of the network news.

We’ve moved along. Twitter’s attention span can’t wait for Kayla. After all, we have Brian Williams and Bruce Jenner to focus on, a major obsession. We have a new poll out of New Hampshire showing Jeb Bush with a slight lead in that state’s Republican presidential primary, an election one year away. Plus, we’re still sorting through the after-affects of what various and absurd candidates have said about vaccinations and why the President mentioned The Crusades at the National Prayer Breakfast. Oh, and don’t forget the Grammy Awards and what they mean to the future of America.

Prescott, Arizona has a population of 40,000. In the summer of 2013, only weeks before Kayla Mueller vanished in Syria, the town was brought to its knees when 19 local men, firefighters, died combating a wild fire in the nearby mountains. The memory of that loss remains as vivid as the clear blue sky that dominates most Arizona days.

Now the nightmare continues with the agonizing mystery surrounding one young woman who went out to the wider world armed only with the best of American intentions: To help those who need help the most.