Mark Finkelstein has a B.S. from Cornell University, an Ed.M. and a J.D., magna cum laude, from SUNY Buffalo, and an LL.M. from Harvard Law. In 2011, Mark moved to Pecan Plantation, Texas from his long-time home in Ithaca, NY where he hosted "Right Angle," an award-winning local political talk show. Mark is an aviation buff and holds an instrument rating.  Mark spent ten days in Iraq in November, 2006, mainly in Anbar Province. Email: mark.finkelstein@gmail.com
 

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
September 22, 2014, 9:19 AM EDT

Could the "Islamic" in "Islamic State" be a clue?  Not for John Kerry.  Appearing on today's Morning Joe, our clueless Secretary of State insisted that what drives ISIS is a "radical, extremist, cultish" philosophy, but not—perish the thought!—a "religious attitude."

Kerry was of course echoing the analysis of that noted theologian, Barack Obama, who two weeks ago declared that ISIS is "not Islamic."  In fairness, Presidents George W. Bush and Clinton have expressed similar sentiments.  For a thorough debunking of the ISIS/Islam-deniers, see here.

September 21, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT

Should Fauxcahontas be flattered . . . or furious?  The title of Elizabeth Warren's new book is "A Fighting Chance," a "rabble-rousing" rant by the populist from the Harvard faculty lounge.

So here comes Hillary Clinton, who in a speech this week just happened to say "I want every one of our children to feel that they are inheriting the best of America ... that this country is on your side; that this country will give you the fighting chance, the fair shot you deserve." Pure coincidence? Not when it comes to American's most calculating politician.  Not when Hillary lifts the line from the woman whose name is bruited about as potentially offering Clinton her most serious challenge for the Dem nomination.

September 16, 2014, 9:42 PM EDT

Paging the MSNBC PC police! On his All In show this evening, Chris Hayes used some indubitably un-PC language to dismiss concerns that ISIS or other terrorist groups might be infiltrating across our porous southern border.

Huffed Hayes: "in the years since September 11, there have been occasional stories of this type. Sort of, a kind of girl talk mash-up of the fear about the border and the fear about terrorism being fused together."  The fear of terrorists coming across the border is "girl talk?"  Off to the re-education camp with Chris!

September 16, 2014, 8:14 AM EDT

What's next, Mika?  Giant alligators in the sewers of New York City?  On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski perpetuated the hoary urban legend that domestic violence spikes on Super Bowl Sunday.

Brzezinski's blunder came in the context of the panel's discussion of the NFL's domestic violence mess. Arguing that football is a violent game and that "there's a connection" with what happens at home, Mika continued, "domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday. We've seen the numbers. Why is that?" Actually, Brzezinski has apparently not seen the numbers, since that myth has been thoroughly debunked, often by organizations fighting domestic violence, as here, here and here.

September 15, 2014, 6:12 PM EDT

Can Touré Neblett not see the incandescent irony of his statement?  His show-ending rant on The Cycle today condemned the censorship of the shocking images of war. Railed Touré: "we're blocked from seeing so much of the cost of war, of the evil of war as if we are too sensitive or squeamish or unable to handle the graphic truth."

Touré focused on one particular photo, taken by photo-journalist Kenneth Jarecke during the first Gulf War, deploring the fact that AP refused to publish it. Incredibly, Touré  then proceeded to . . . censor the photo himself, declaring that it's "so graphic I can't show it to you now."  Hello?

September 15, 2014, 8:53 AM EDT

Ever since the Ray Rice elevator video went public, Morning Joe has been in a state of sustained moral outrage over the NFL's mishandling of the issue of domestic violence.  All well and good.  But things turned testy this morning when a New York Times reporter turned the tables on Joe and Mika. Allen Schwarz asked if they should march into the office of the NBC Chairman and demand that the network stop supporting the NFL by broadcasting its Sunday night games.

After first jokingly suggesting that the camera on Schwarz be turned off, Scarborough got seriously snippy.  When Schwarz didn't hear Scarborough say "right" in agreement with something the reporter said, Scarborough responded "I said right.  It means I'm agreeing with you.  You don't have to be so defensive. You can just relax."  Scarborough continued taking shots at Schwarz after the reporter left the air.

September 13, 2014, 2:02 PM EDT

Phyllis Bennis is a defender of Iran and its nuclear ambitions, and wants Israel wiped off the map, to be replaced by a single Palestinian state. So naturally she's a Melissa Harris-Perry fave.

Appearing yet again today on Harris-Perry's MSNBC show, Bennis put her radical views on display, arguing that many US soliders aren't truly volunteers, but are "forced in by poverty and lack of other opportunities."  "That's absolutely ridiculous," responded Iraq war veteran Earl Catagnus Jr. 

September 11, 2014, 9:41 PM EDT

On Hardball, Chris Matthews describes himself as a "skeptic" about President Obama's ISIS strategy.  Matthews argues that since the president has excluded American boots on the ground, we will be forced to rely on foreign partners to hold territory, yet there are no such viable forces available.

September 11, 2014, 8:38 AM EDT

President Obama is a great leader.  Really.  Just ask him. Seemingly ignored in the coverage of the president's ISIS speech last night was the moment when President Obama claimed that the ISIS threat was being met with "strength and resolve," then boasted that his strategy—and by extension he himself—represented "American leadership at its best."

Can anyone imagine truly great American leaders--from Washington to Lincoln to Reagan--feeling the need to claim that their plans represented "American leadership at its best?"

September 10, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT

Last month, Ed Schultz argued against any "military intervention at all" in Iraq. On this evening's show, Schultz said that President Obama shouldn't rule out boots on the ground and shouldn't "outsource" fighting to forces from other countries.

September 9, 2014, 7:24 AM EDT

All the members of the Morning Joe panel--Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist--speak approvingly of "SheRide," a new taxi service that hires only women drivers and accepts only women passengers.

September 8, 2014, 9:04 PM EDT

On MSNBC's Ed Show, NOW President Terry O'Neill gives a glum assessment of Wendy Davis' chances of winning her race for Governor of Texas: "this has always been very much an uphill battle."

September 8, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough scoffs at Thomas Friedman's suggestion that the way to confront ISIS is for the US to adopt a carbon tax and permit oil exports.

September 7, 2014, 3:52 PM EDT

In his inaugural episode as moderator of Meet The Press, Chuck Todd hits President Obama with a question from the left on the president's decision to postpone the granting of amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants until after the November, 2014 congressional elections: "what do you tell the person that's going to get deported before the election that this decision was essentially made in your hopes of saving a Democratic Senate."

September 6, 2014, 7:38 AM EDT

Rachel Maddow frets about all President Obama has on his plate and concludes: "aren't you glad you're not President?"

September 2, 2014, 11:04 PM EDT

UPDATE: Maddow has posted a misleading tweet trying to cover up her mistake.  See after the jump.

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Another embarrassing mistake by Rachel Maddow. This time Rachel has revealed her unfamiliarity with some simple world geography. On her MSNBC show this evening, discussing President Obama's impending trip to one of the Baltic states--Estonia--Maddow told anecdotes of "the last time a US President visited the Balkans."  Whoops!

Maddow waxed on about how the last time an American president visited the "Balkans," it was George W., visiting Albania.  Rachel recounted the story of how W's wrist-watch disappeared when he waded into a crowd of Albanian well-wishers.  With malicious glee, Maddow mentioned that in honor of his visit, the Albanians erected a tall statue of W with a "teeny, teeny, teeny, tiny little head."  How tiny must a melon be not to contain the difference between the Balkans and the Baltics?  View the video after the jump.

August 29, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

Of all the names that it would be embarrassing for an MSNBC network host to blank on, Rick Perry's would have to be at the top of the list.  How countless many times has the Lean Forward network had fun at Perry's expense over his "whoops" moment during a 2012 presidential debate?

But that unfortunate fate befell Jose Diaz-Balart today, hosting his own new MSNBC show.  The topic was the way in which Ted Cruz and Perry would potentially fight over Texas donor dollars if they were to both run for president.  Diaz-Balart got Cruz's name without problem, but when it came time for Perry's, Diaz-Balart stumbled multiple times before giving up and just generically referencing him as the "Governor of Texas."  Whoops indeed! View the video after the jump.

August 29, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT

Alexander the Great.  Stonewall Jackson. George S. Patton. To this list of some of history's greatest military strategists, a new name must be added: that of Barack Obama.  That is, if you agree with Joe Scarborough's take on President Obama's statement at yesterday's press conference that "we don't have a strategy yet" regarding possible attacks on ISIS in Syria.

According to Scarborough, speaking on today's Morning Joe, President Obama's "no strategy" statement was "straight out of The Art of War where when you were weak, you make your enemies think you were strong. When you were strong, you make your enemies think you were weak." It's what Scarborough would have done, he told viewers, if he were president. When Sam Stein said that he couldn't tell if Joe was joking, Scarborough assured him: "I'm serious. Dead serious . . . I am dead serious.  I am not joking."  View the video after the jump.

August 23, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT

Dial MSNBC for Murder . . . The Lean Forward network is the place to go if that's the way you want to hear the death of Michael Brown described.  On August 12th, NB'S Ken Shepherd noted that Chris Hayes didn't utter a peep of protest when a Missouri state senator called Brown's death an "execution-style" killing.  Three days later on MSNBC, Luke Russert called Brown's death "murder" before catching himself.  

It's happened again.  On today's Up With Steve Kornacki, guest L. Joy Williams pointedly called the Brown death "murder."  Did Kornacki challenge his guest's assertion in any way? Of course not.  At the end of her statement, Kornacki blandly posed a question to Williams about poll results.  Courageous journalism, Steve!  View the video after the jump.

August 19, 2014, 9:10 AM EDT

Like what?  Seriously, Mika Brzezinski, when you claim as you did on today's Morning Joe that Barack Obama has done "great things" on race, precisely what do you have in mind? H/t NB reader Ray R.

Was it choosing to make the racist Reverend Wright his personal pastor?  Appointing Eric Holder as Attorney General?  Accusing the Cambridge police of acting "stupidly" in the arrest of a black man?  Complaining about Americans who dislike him because they don't like the idea of a black president? Inviting Al Sharpton to the White House?  Really, Mika, we want to know.  View the video after the jump.