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 29, 2015, 9:27 AM EDT

Give Josh Barro credit for candor. When it comes to guns, the New York Times correspondent makes no bones about the kind of draconian, Second Amendment-defying approach he thinks is necessary.  

Forget about expanded background checks or other such measures. The only way to have a "big impact on violent crime," according to Barro, is to emulate Australia and "really take away massive amounts of guns that people have, reduce the rate of gun ownership substantially." 

August 28, 2015, 7:02 PM EDT

Care to see the sneering face of supercilious liberal condescension?  Check out the video clip of John Fugelsang, a Sirius host who appeared on MSNBC this afternoon. He laid out a loony conspiracy theory according to which Fox News wanted to "give" the GOP nomination to Jeb, so that he in turn could lose to Hillary, and Fox could be the "hate Hillary network" for the next four years.

August 28, 2015, 9:49 AM EDT

So who's Hillary's enforcer? Last week we asked "who got to Donny Deutsch?" when he suddenly became supportive of Hillary whereas just the week before he had been very critical of her.

The same thing has happened with Ed Rendell.  Just yesterday, the former DNC Chairman and Pennsylvania governor was quoted in the New York Times saying Hillary has handled the email scandal "poorly, maybe atrociously, certainly horribly." But on today's Morning Joe, Ed was suddenly singing a different tune, claiming Hillary is doing everything right and plaintively suggesting that there is no problem. That led Mark Halperin to observe "I'm not saying he woke up with a horse head in bed with him," but "he was contacted . . . by what we like to call Clinton associates."  

August 27, 2015, 8:16 AM EDT

The morning after Al Sharpton was exiled to the Sunday morning desert from his evening show, and not long after Ed Schultz and Alex Wagner were relieved of their hosting duties, Joe Scarborough has profusely thanked NBC News honcho Andrew Lack for making those changes.

On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough was discussing stunning poll results in which the first word that came to voters' minds about Hillary was "liar."  Asked what was the worst thing said about him in such polling, Scarborough answered "he works for MSNBC." But Joe then added, his hands steepled in a gesture of gratitude: "not any more though, cause things have changed. Thank you, Andy. Thank you very much." 

August 26, 2015, 10:07 PM EDT

When it comes to fake news stories, if anyone's an expert it's Dan Rather . . . The disgraced former CBS News anchor has a new twist on the vast right-wing conspiracy. Instead of plotting against poor innocents like Bill and Hillary, those conspiratorial conservatives are now creating phony feuds among themselves! 

On Rachel Maddow's show tonight, Rather declared himself "suspicious" about the battle between Donald Trump and Fox News, suggesting that Trump and Roger Ailes might have "gotten together and planned out" the feud for their mutual benefit.

August 25, 2015, 8:23 AM EDT

If you're Hillary Clinton or one of her supporters, this should make your blood run cold.  On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough said that the unequivocally pro-Biden statement from Obama spox Josh Earnest yesterday not only sent "a strong, strong message to Hillary" but, echoing the Wall Street Journal, "you wonder whether they're sending a message to the Justice Department as well."

Has there ever been anything quite like this in the history of American politics? It's one thing for a president to encourage his veep's presidential ambitions. It's entirely another for a president to put his 800-lb. thumb on the political scales by suggesting to his Justice Department that he'd like it to launch an investigation of the veep's main rival.

August 24, 2015, 5:32 PM EDT

Old enough to remember when the liberal media tried to pin the "wimp" label on George H.W. Bush, the guy who lied about his age to get into WWII and who is still jumping out of planes decades later?

John Heilemann of Bloomberg TV has taken things a vulgar step further with another member of the Bush family. On his With All Due Respect show today, Heilemann called Jeb Bush the "low-T" candidate.  A laughing Josh Green, subbing for Mark Halperin, suggested that "there are pills for that but Jeb is not taking them."

August 24, 2015, 1:28 PM EDT

He who laughs last, Luke . . . At first I wasn't sure: it certainly sounded like Luke Russert, off camera, was laughing as a reporter said that some Donald Trump supporters told her they hope he hires smart people to carry out his plans. Listen and judge for yourself 35 seconds into the video clip.

Was I imagining things? Could he have been coughing? But no, when Russert came back on screen, his disdain for those Trump supporters couldn't have been clearer. A smirk [see the screencap] still on his face, Russert said: "that's a fascinating anecdote, Chris. I don't think we've heard that. I hope they hire smart people, of a presidential candidate."

August 24, 2015, 7:51 AM EDT

At what point will members of the Obama administration, from the president himself to John Kerry and other senior officials, down to the workaday folks of the West Wing, decide that Hillary's email scandal is doing intolerable damage to whatever's left of their legacy, and decide to pull the plug?

A significant line was crossed on today's Morning Joe, when Joe Scarborough flatly and repeatedly accused John Kerry's State Department of engaging in a "cover-up"  on Hillary's behalf.  How much longer will Kerry be willing to sacrifice his reputation on the altar of Hillary's presidential ambitions?

August 23, 2015, 7:13 AM EDT

What's next: a "Hillary cloth--perfect for wiping servers?" Seriously, has fatalistic, gallows humor set in at Hillary's campaign? Or has her staff perhaps been infiltrated by moles from competing campaigns trying to sabotage her? Hillary's official campaign store sent out an email this morning featuring beer koozies. The first reads "More Like Chillary Clinton.  AMIRITE?" The second shows the Hillary 'H' logo all frosted over. Think of it: her scandals aside, Hillary suffers from a public image of a chilly, frosty personality. But rather than trying to warm Hillary up, her campaign reinforces the negative image with frosty, Chillary koozies?  Really?

Perhaps even more telling and ominous: the email's subject line is "Before They're Gone." Double-entendre, anyone? Come to think of it, those items could be a good investment. Imagine how much more that "Chillary" koozie will bring on eBay if Hillary says sayonara before the first primary.  

August 21, 2015, 9:37 AM EDT

Finally! Something from a New York Times reporter you can absolutely, positively believe: that no matter the mounting evidence, he will not condemn Hillary Clinton for her email malfeasance.

On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough repeatedly tried to get Jeremy Peters to state whether he agreed with the federal judge who yesterday declared that Hillary had not "followed government policy" regarding her email.  After haplessly trying to do anything but answer the question, an exasperated Peters finally sputtered: "you want, you want me to indict and damn Hillary?  I'm not going to do that."

August 21, 2015, 7:52 AM EDT

Who got to Donny Deutsch? Seriously. Exactly one week ago, as we reported here, Deutsch was painting a very bleak picture for Hillary Clinton, saying that "Americans are just tired of Hillary," they have "fallen out of like with her," and that people he knows who would automatically be Hillary backers are saying "wow, there's got to be somebody else here."

But there was Deutsch on Morning Joe today, singing a much sunnier tune. Deutsch claimed that the email scandal won't really hurt Hillary and that her supporters are not deserting her: "I don't think it has a profound effect on her candidacy . . . at the end of the day, if you're a Hillary person, you're a Hillary person; people are staying in their lanes."  So tell us, readers, what happened to Donny over the course of the last seven days?

August 20, 2015, 10:26 AM EDT

Hard for staffer interviews not to be a disaster when telling the truth could land Hillary in the hoosegow . . . Yesterday, this NewsBuster was gobsmacked by the spectacle of senior Hillary aide Jennifer Palmieri suggesting that the FBI would be happy to discover that Hillary's infamous email server had been scrubbed clean. We wrote about it here.

Today's Morning Joe picked through the smoldering ashes of that interview with the participation of John Heilemann, who conducted it.  Joe Scarborough said that "everybody" he talked to called the interview a "disaster." Heilemann suggested that top Hillary staffers are "in the dark."  The cruelest cut came from Mika Brzezinski, who said "there are no good answers."  So where does Hillary go from here?

August 19, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT

We are now officially in Hillary-in-Wonderland world . . . A senior aide to Hillary Clinton has suggested that the FBI would be happy to discover that Hillary's infamous email server was wiped--and not with a cloth.

Interviewed by John Heilemann on today's With All Due Respect, Jennifer Palmieri--Communications Director for Hillary's campaign--insisted that finding that the server was thoroughly scrubbed is "the outcome they [the FBI] want."

August 19, 2015, 8:26 AM EDT

If she were anyone but a Clinton, would Hillary's campaign not be kaput? Imagine: you're a big Dem donor, elected official in an early primary state or grassroots organizer trying to decide whose bandwagon to jump on.  You turn on Morning Joe today, and there's Ron Fournier, MSM member-in-good-standing and someone who's said he's voted for Clintons more than anyone in DC, saying about the email scandal that Hillary "might pay a big price criminally." Schnikes! Where did you say Bernie Sanders is appearing next? 

As baleful as Fournier was about Hillary's fortunes, something Joe Scarborough said might be even more ominous.  Scarborough revealed that he's receiving emails from aides to President Obama who "cannot believe she keeps saying that this was okay with the White House . . . they cannot believe inside the Obama White House that she continues to act this way." Consider: all President Obama needs to do is raise an eyebrow at his Attorney General Lynch, and Hillary could be in indictment-land. 

August 18, 2015, 8:34 AM EDT

Al Hunt did stop short of predicting something so horrible it could never happen in America--federal marshals armed with assault weapons hunting down children cowering in closets to forcibly return them to a Communist dictatorship. Oh, wait, that really did happen, under President Bill Clinton, when Elian Gonzalez was returned to Cuba at the point of a gun. 

On today's Morning Joe an Al Hunt on the verge of hysteria predicted that Donald Trump's immigration plan would lead to "federal raids on maternity wards."  He claimed that implementing the plan would cost "11 trillion dollars," which assuming 11 million illegals in the country converts to $1 million each.  Joe Scarborough chimed in to claim that "we don't have the money to do that."

August 17, 2015, 8:46 AM EDT

You know those super-fast-talking disclaimers run at the end of some ads?  The kind of CYA things the lawyers force the advertisers to say? That's what Mark Halperin's pro forma praise of Hillary on today's Morning Joe brought to mind. 

Halperin first ripped Hillary's campaign as the most "unresponsive to basic questions" he's ever dealt with, and reported that "elite Democrats" are worried about being stuck with scandal-ridden Hillary as their candidate. But Halperin apparently felt obliged to include this bit of posterior-protecting pablum: "she's still an extraordinarily strong candidate, she's a great public servant. She's, I think, right now, the most likely person to be elected president."

August 15, 2015, 9:19 AM EDT

How about "angry and lame?"  After playing a clip of Hillary in Iowa yesterday in which she addressed the email scandal and took a shot at Donald Trump, MSNBC's Richard Wolffe, sitting in for Steve Kornacki, called her comments "feisty and funny."

Have a look and judge for yourself. There's a difference between feisty and flat-out angry. As for funny, Rodney Dangerfield can rest in peace. Hillary's delivery was wooden. The funniest thing she said was a bit of unintentional humor. Speaking of the email scandal, Clinton claimed "I won't play politics with the national security."  Right. Protecting her personal politics was what having her own server was all about.

August 14, 2015, 6:26 PM EDT

This blog brought to you by Orville Redenbacher . . . One short segment on today's With All Due Respect packed plenty of explosive commentary.  There was John Heilemann saying that Al Gore "hates" Hillary and that if he gets in the race would be a "huge" problem for her. Lending credence to Heilemann's "hates" claim is the fact that he mentioned having "spent a lot of time" with Gore in 2006.  Translation: I was with him on those long nights when Al let his beard down and spoke straight from his globally-warmed heart.  

A second noteworthy comment came from Mark Halperin, who opined that "everyone" in the Dem party doesn't "trust" going into the race with Hillary as the only establishment choice and that the vacuum "is going to be" be filled by someone. Hmm.

August 14, 2015, 9:34 AM EDT

Was our restaurant table bugged?  Last night over date-night dinner, my wife, a perspicacious observer of the political scene and, yes, a Bernie backer, said she sensed that Hillary's moment had passed and that people were tired of her.

Cut to today's Morning Joe, and there were Donny Deutsch, Joe Scarborough and an initially reluctant Mika Brzezinski saying much the same thing: that powerful, influential Dems have come down with a bad case of Hillary blahs.  The context was talk that Al Gore might be jumping into the race.