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.  He spent ten days in Iraq in November, 2006, mainly in Anbar Province. Email: mark.finkelstein@gmail.com
 

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
August 3, 2015, 12:59 PM EDT

On today's Morning Joe, Josh Earnest said that President Obama believes that picking Biden as his VP was the "smartest decision he ever made in politics." Joe Scarborough drew the mischievous-but-logical inference that Obama must thus believe it was smarter than picking Hillary as his Secretary of State.  Though Mika interrupted to say that's not what he meant, Earnest never said boo to counter Joe's interpretation.

Earnest later said that if Biden chooses to run, he could make a "strong" case for his candidacy.  He added that other Dem candidates could make "quite" a strong case. Note the qualifier. And Earnest never paid Hillary the honor of mentioning her by name, just lumping her with "other Democratic candidates" not named Biden. Add in the fact that Joe reported that there is "outrage at the White House" over Hillary's email and foundation foul-ups, and a picture emerges of an Obama jumping towards Joe.  This could get very interesting!

August 2, 2015, 12:43 PM EDT

Shakespeare can sleep easy. His reputation as creator of some of the English language's greatest poems is in no danger of being overtaken. At least not by the likes of former Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak, whose "poem" the DNC chose to use in a fund-raising email today.

Rybak's shtick is tweeting out his doggerel.  His poem, if such it can be called, can be read after the break.  Rybak is a guy, by the way, who thinks Cheney-shoot-you-in-the-face cracks are cool.

July 31, 2015, 9:22 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough chose to couch his criticism in exculpatory explanation, claiming that reporters "try to be as fair as possible" and that their bias is "unintended."  But Scarborough's bottom line was still this: that media bias is at its worst when it comes to the issue of abortion.

Speaking on today's Morning Joe, Scarborough took his critique a significant step further, asserting that if a conservative group were caught doing what Planned Parenthood has done, "there would be indictments already going down." 

July 30, 2015, 9:08 AM EDT

This is fodder for WSJ columnist James Taranto's "everything is seemingly spinning out of control" file. Howard Dean has declared that we'll have to be "more humble" about Donald Trump's prospects and that he will "have to stop making fun" of him for now.

What's got Dean doing a 180 on Trump? Not just the latest polls, which include one showing Trump trouncing Jeb and Rubio in their home state of Florida. Above all, it was the experience of viewing, on today's Morning Joe, a stunning focus group of New Hampshire Republicans who were uniformly and enthusiastically pro-Trump, saying things like "honest; Reaganesque; one of us; we could be a proud America."

July 29, 2015, 8:05 AM EDT

Questions for Mike Barnicle: does the phrase "suicide bomber" ring a bell? How about "martyrdom" in the name of Allah?

On today's Morning JoeBarnicle's argument in favor of the Iran deal was that to oppose it, one would "have to believe Iran is suicidal." The former Boston Globe columnist reasoned that if Iran dropped an atomic bomb on Tel Aviv, "Tehran would be a combination of glass and sand and cement within 15 minutes."

July 28, 2015, 9:09 PM EDT

Hey, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has retired as president of Iran.  Why didn't NBC hire him and cut out the middle-man? But seriously, what did NBC think it was getting when it hired as a "contributor" someone who served as Ahmadinejad's translator and who in that role mouthed his vicious anti-Semitic rants?

On Chris Hayes' MSNBC show this evening, Hooman Majd claimed the Iran deal is "a good deal for Iran, probably a better deal for the US," and that the US is not giving up anything, that there is no "signing bonus" since "it is Iran's money." In an illogical leap worthy of the man he translated for, Majd argued that it makes no sense to worry about Iran attacking the US or Israel since it hasn't done so yet. Ah, right, Mr. Majd: Iran hasn't gotten the atom bomb yet. That's the point. And for that matter, Iran and its proxies have attacked and killed many Americans and Israelis. 

July 28, 2015, 8:03 AM EDT

Israelis wouldn't have to be marched to ovens.  The ovens would come to them, in the form of an atomic bomb.

On today's Morning JoeWashington Post columnist Eugene Robinson said that he was "offended" by Mike Huckabee's remark that President Obama's Iran deal would "take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven." Robinson said the comment runs counter to the purpose of Israel, which is that "nobody is going to be marched toward any ovens."

July 27, 2015, 8:51 PM EDT

Is Hillary hearing donkey hoofbeats? On his Weekly Standard podcast today, Bill Kristol put the odds at "better than 50/50" that one or more of Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden or John Kerry would jump into the race against a Hillary Clinton whom he described as "extraordinarily weak."

Kristol made an undeniable point, to wit, that "if someone came down and gave you the poll numbers on Hillary Clinton, from the last two, three, four public polls, you would look at that and say, whoah: this is a very weak and very vulnerable frontrunner."

July 27, 2015, 9:19 AM EDT

It's a point of pride at Morning Joe that the show is unscripted. But in a notable deviation that might reflect the gravity of the moment, Joe Scarborough clearly seemed to be reading off a teleprompter today as he promulgated a damning indictment of Hillary Clinton's mishandling of classified information on her private email system. Scarborough's statement was interspersed with clips of Hillary making statements about her email use that in light of the Inspectors General statements seem clearly to be untrue.

Even more ominous for Hillary and her presidential ambitions was that none of Andrea Mitchell, Mark Halperin nor Ron Fournier--who claimed that as a former Arkansas resident he had probably voted more often for Clintons than any other journalist in DC--deigned to offer a defense of Hillary's actions.

July 25, 2015, 5:11 PM EDT

Shades of 1968 and the Days of Rage? Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has announced that "any opportunity we have to shut down a Republican convention, we will."

Appearing on today's Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, Cullors also blithely spoke of "the murder of Mike Brown" in Ferguson, MO. Neither of the co-guest hosts sitting in for Harris-Perry, Richard Liu and Janet Mock, challenged Cullors' characterization.  This despite the fact that even Eric Holder's Justice Department found no wrongdoing on the part of the police officer who shot Brown. 

July 23, 2015, 8:39 AM EDT

Ouch: this one's going to leave a mark.  Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton has said that "John Kerry acted like Pontius Pilate, he washed his hands" on crucial issues in the Iran deal and left it to the IAEA to negotiate secret side deals with Iran on them.

Cotton made his remarks on today's Morning Joe.  It might be a mark of the regard, or lack thereof, in which Kerry is held that no one on the panel rose to his defense.  Harold Ford, Jr. was given the floor immediately after Cotton spoke, and blithely inquired only if Kerry would be asked about these issues in his Senate testimony. A bit later in the show, Dem Sen. Tim Kaine appeared.  Kaine presumably either watched or was briefed on Cotton's statement, but made not a peep to push back on the Pontius Pilate analogy.

July 22, 2015, 8:52 AM EDT

Arianna Huffington is no pachyderm, politically speaking, but like the elephant, she apparently never forgets--or forgives.  Three years ago, Donald Trump called Huffington "unattractive both inside and out."  Arianna has now returned the favor, relegating HuffPo's coverage of Trump to its entertainment section.

On today's Morning Joe, HuffPo's Sam Stein was put in the unenviable position of defending his boss's decision, arguing that Trump is a mere "lounge act" whose position in the polls is simply "sustained by the media."  Joe Scarborough blasted the decision as "absolutely absurd," and Mika Brzezinski, in the unkindest-but-truest cut of all, said that many would argue that one Barack Obama was similarly sustained by the media in 2008.

July 20, 2015, 8:38 AM EDT

If calling constituents concerned about illegal immigration "crazies" is a term of endearment, what would be an insult?  

On today's Morning Joe, John McCain refused to apologize to the thousands of Arizonans attending a Trump rally that McCain called "crazies." According to McCain, "crazies" is a "term of endearment" and a "term of affection."

July 17, 2015, 8:29 AM EDT

Andrea Mitchell had the chance to ask John Kerry, on live national TV, any question she wanted about the Iran deal. She could, for example, have confronted him over the lifting of the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargoes that were included as a nice little parting gift to Iran.

Instead, in a moment of media malpractice, Mitchell lobbed up the mushiest of softballs on today's Morning Joe, asking Kerry "what that moment meant to you" when at the final negotiation meeting, he reminisced about going to Vietnam as a 22-year old "and that you never wanted to go to war without having exhausted the diplomacy."  A shame Andrea and John weren't in the same room so they could have exchanged a heartfelt hug.

July 15, 2015, 9:16 AM EDT

Zbigniew Brzezinki is the man who infamously advised President Obama to shoot down Israeli warplanes should they attempt to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities. So when David Ignatius asked him on today's Morning Joe what he thought of Bibi Netanyahu's condemnation of the Iran deal, Zbigniew knew he was being teed up to unload on the Israeli PM.

By Zbigniew's vituperative standards, his response was in fact relatively measured.  Still, the utter disdain with which he regards Netanyahu was evident, calling him "not a very serious person" who can entertain Congress but is not good for Israel.

July 13, 2015, 7:43 AM EDT

Liberal media types like Al Hunt haven't called Donald Trump a Hitler. Yet.  But Judy Woodruff's husband has branded Trump a modern-day version of an iconic personification of racism.

On today's Morning Joe, Hunt declared that Trump is "George Corley Wallace, 40 years later."

July 10, 2015, 7:58 AM EDT

What does it say about Mike Barnicle that, in a discussion of the surge in inner-city homicide, Al Sharpton sounded a lot more reasonable than the former Boston Globe columnist?

On today's Morning Joe, Sharpton almost echoed the NRA's famous "guns don't kill people, people kill people."  Said Sharpton: "people, because guns are there don't make you get up and shoot."  But there was the blathering Barnicle--who during the Ferguson debate had bemoaned the militarization of police--seeming to condemn the absence of the National Guard in the inner cities.

July 9, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT

What does MSNBC's Alex Wagner have against stately Indian warriors? On today's Morning Joe, Wagner said it was "amazing" that anyone could look at the Washington Redskins logo and name and not find them controversial.

This NewsBuster can understand the debate over the "Redskins" name. But the logo? Has Alex actually had a look at it?  Could Wagner be confusing it with the Cleveland Indians'  Chief Yahoo?  Seriously, what could be more stately, grave and dignified than the Redskins logo?  

July 7, 2015, 8:47 AM EDT

From the man who brought you malaise, now an even more depressingly negative view of America . . . On today's Morning Joe, Jimmy Carter declared that America is in "inevitable decline."  

But no finger-pointing at President Obama, please: Carter declared that the decline is "not because of any defect or fault on the part of the President of the United States."   Cue the Cole Porter: it's just one of those things.

July 6, 2015, 7:51 AM EDT

Remind me: before her View gig, did Nicolle Wallace work for Republicans or Democrats? I ask because on today's Morning Joe, she was the sole voice downplaying the significance of Hillary's minions having roped off the press during her July 4th parade walk.

According to Wallace,"we pay a little bit too much attention to [press] access to Hillary Clinton . . . just as an image, I don't that it was a bad press day for Hillary because of the rope corral."

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