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
June 25, 2015, 8:08 AM EDT

Working title for John Kerry's memoirs: The Art of the Disastrous Deal . . . On today's Morning Joe, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said he was "stunned" to hear Kerry recently say that the Iranians' work toward weaponizing a nuclear device is not as important as some are suggesting and that they don't have to come clean before an agreement. 

Hayden later said that the US must walk away from the deal unless Iran agrees to "anytime, anywhere" inspections, something that for now the ayatollah's agents are refusing.  The alarm Hayden sounded today is in line with the letter that five of President Obama's former senior national security advisers have sent him, warning that the deal falls short of meeting the administration's own standards for what constitutes a good deal.

June 24, 2015, 11:46 AM EDT

Bill Kristol has supported the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds for 15 years. But when he took to Twitter yesterday to criticize the left's "frenzy of self-righteousness" in the wake of Charleston, he brought down on his head a deluge of ugly criticism.

On today's Morning Joe, Jonathan Capehart and John Heilemann eschewed the kind of scatalogical suggestions that had been made to Kristol on Twitter, but engaged in a barrage of criticism of their own.  Capehart accused Kristol of "belittling" the families of the Charleston victims, while Heilemann—telling Kristol he was "trolling"—sarcastically said that the Left doesn't need his help.

June 22, 2015, 9:37 AM EDT

The screencap shows New Yorker editor David Remnick, on today's Morning Joe, raising his hand to proudly plead guilty to condescending to Donald Trump, whom he had just called a "comical blowhard" in regretting that he was "conceivably a player" in the presidential race.

Mika Brzezinski is no fan of The Donald on the issues, so give her extra credit for sticking up for his relevance to the race.  Schooling Remnick, she said that Trump has the guts, which many lack, to "liquefy" the likes of George Stephanopoulos and others with one line. Mika was alluding to Joe Scarborough's statement to that effect from last week.

June 21, 2015, 10:50 AM EDT

The Cardinal couldn't have been more polite, but it didn't take much reading between the lines to get what he was asserting: that when it comes to the encyclical on the environment, Rush Limbaugh doesn't understand what the Pope was saying.

On today's Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace played a clip of Rush saying that the encyclical "is suggesting is that everyone should vote for the Democrat party. How in the hell else do you interpret it when the Pope sounds like Al Gore on global warming and climate change?" Responded Cardinal Donald Wuerl: "one of the great blessings of America" is that "we're all allowed to speak our mind even if we don't have all the facts. Even if we don't have a clear view of what the other person is saying."  

June 19, 2015, 10:05 AM EDT

Yes, what could be better for an already-troubled network than to be saddled with a disgraced hand-me-down from the mother ship?

On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski gushed "I think that it's great for the network" that Brian Williams will be joining MSNBC as its anchor of breaking news. As dutiful employees, it's understandable that MSNBC people would greet Williams impending arrival respectfully, as did Joe Scarborough in saying--without excitement--that he was "very excited."  But Mika went beyond the call of duty with her "great for this network" line.

June 18, 2015, 10:16 AM EDT

"People who think he's a joke and a fool need to be careful because by the end of the campaign, the joke may be on them." That's how Joe Scarborough summed up the surprisingly respectful analysis of Donald Trump's candidacy on today's Morning Joe

Introducing the segment, Scarborough suggested that if Trump sticks to a Perot-like populist message, he could get 15% of the primary vote. When Joe turned to Steve Schmidt, this NewsBuster expected the former McCain campaign manager and establishment Republican to dump on Trump. But to the contrary, Schmidt agreed heartily with Joe and went on to make the case that Trump is channeling widespread popular resentment, is the man people would want to hear in a debate, and could be "very impactful" in the race.  John Heilemann was similarly respectful of Trump's potential, saying he "doesn't play by the rules and is fearless," and receives serious, generally favorable local coverage in places like Iowa and New Hampshire.

June 17, 2015, 7:58 AM EDT

Nothing says raw, real and unfiltered like a Hillary moment manufactured by a horde of hacks, handlers and hangers-on. 

On today's Morning Joe, Kasie Hunt observed that in this election cycle, "the demand seems to be for raw, unfiltered, real type of moments. I think that they're trying very hard to create that with her." Jon Meacham—seizing the oxymoronic irony—jumped in: "they're manufacturing it." Bingo. 

June 16, 2015, 8:51 PM EDT

How can Judd Apatow, once ranked the smartest guy in Hollywood be so . . . ? On today's With All Due Respect, big comedy macher [credits include Lena Dunham's GirlsApatow said it was "ridiculous that anyone thinks that rich people care about other people.  When the Koch brothers give a billion dollars, it is not out of a great concern for the masses."

To his credit, Mark Halperin twice pressed Apatow as to whether his notion that the rich don't care about others also applies to rich Hollywood liberals.  Apatow eventually asserted that there's a difference: "Hollywood liberals would be willing to change the entire system if all would get the money out of it, and I don't think conservatives would do it."  Hmm.  Who was the guy who, realizing he could get untold millions from Hollywood among other places, broke his pledge to limit himself to public financing?  That would be Barack Obama.  

June 16, 2015, 9:08 AM EDT

Think of Hillary Clinton.  I know, I know, but work with me. Now think of the first 100 things that come to mind.  Is "change" one of them?  It is for Howard Dean, and Bill Kristol found that hilarious. On today's Morning Joe, explaining his early endorsement of Hillary, Dean claimed that "Hillary Clinton is change." That was enough to provoke hearty laughter in the normally-composed Kristol.  

Manifestly in a jocular mood, Kristol later turned the PC tables on Mika Brzezinski. When she claimed that young people are very enthusiastic about Hillary, Kristol told Mika that she needed to hang out with a more "diverse" group of them.

June 15, 2015, 9:39 AM EDT

First, polls show Americans don't think Hillary is trustworthy.  Then her campaign manager denies that such polls exist. Then her pollster denies that the campaign manager didn't tell the truth about it. Not exactly a formula to build trust. 

On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough mocked Robby Mook for having, as our Jeff Meyer reported, denied the undeniable, claiming on yesterday's Face the Nation that "no poll" shows Americans don't trust Hillary.   Said Scarborough sarcastically: "well, actually, yeah, they do. You have to respect him for saying they don't." When Scarborough confronted Hillary pollster Joel Benenson with the fact that Mook "didn't tell the truth," Benenson replied: "He did tell the truth.  He got interrupted by John [Dickerson], who is a great guy.  That's the way these shows go."  Have a look at the clip: Dickerson didn't interrupt Mook, who had all the time to tell the truth and chose not to.

June 13, 2015, 2:21 PM EDT

Love the smell of flop sweat in the morning? That might have been the aroma wafting off Roosevelt Island today as Hillary "kicked off" her campaign [whatever happened to "you only get one chance to make a first impression?" Guess Hillary doesn't use Head & Shoulders.]

On MSNBC's Weekends with Alex Witt today, two reporters painted a picture of a crowd that was smaller than hoped for, not overly enthusiastic, and problematically pale.

June 9, 2015, 7:37 AM EDT

Talk about killing the messenger . . . Mike Barnicle has blamed the New York Post for the fact that New York City has become less safe under far-left Mayor Bill de Blasio.

On today's Morning Joe, Barnicle--holding up the front page of today's Post--whined that part of the problem is "the way crime is now covered in this city--especially in this paper, okay? If someone is shot in Times Square, or a guy with a hatchet in midtown is attacking people, it's on the front page." Boo-hoo. The fault, dear Barnicle, is not in the Post, but in de Blasio, and the way his reduction of stop-and-frisk and lax attitude have emboldened criminals and led to a jump in the crime rate.

June 8, 2015, 9:18 PM EDT

Apples and oranges: or shall we say, Harleys and Abrams.

On this evening's Ed Show on MSNBC, guest John Nichols of the far-left Nation mag and guest host Michael Eric Dyson lamely tried to analogize Scott Walker riding a Harley to the infamous episode of Michael Dukakis in a tank. The difference?  Walker is a for-real biker and Harley owner.  Dukakis did serve two years in the Army, but there's no evidence he did tanks before his ill-fated ride during the 1988 campaign.  Check the photos at the foot to see the difference.  You'll note that the hopelessly buttoned-down Dukakis is actually, yes, wearing a button-down shirt and tie.

June 4, 2015, 8:32 AM EDT

Will Joe Scarborough be hearing from some MSNBC suits? You can imagine Joe being called on the carpet for having, on today's Morning Joe, not-so-subtly accused his own network of "fearmongering" the issue of minority voter suppression against Republicans.

During a discussion of Hillary's planned speech of today on expanding the voting calendar, Scarborough spoke of "cable news" and "cable shows" driving ratings by "fearmongering" the notion of Republicans supposedly engaged in voter suppression.  So which cable news network could Scarborough have in mind?  Fox News? Nope.  CNN? Meh.  Googling "MSNBC voter suppression" yielded 136,000 hits, including links to virtually every MSNBC host, from Matthews to Maddow, Roberts to of course Sharpton, beating the voter suppression drum.

June 3, 2015, 9:05 AM EDT

Mika Brzezinski apparently thinks that when it comes to discussing Bill and Hillary Clinton— those paragons of integrity—certain subjects should be taboo.

On today's Morning Joe, Mika took umbrage that about-to-announce Bobby Jindal dared mention that Bill had lied about Monica Lewinsky. Mika was miffed that Jindal thought it was "blasé" to bring up Monica.  She later called the Louisiana governor "jabby" for having done so.

June 1, 2015, 9:36 AM EDT

Mika Brzezinski just can't contain her liberal bias. On today's Morning Joe, Mika admitted that the the MSM has a double standard when it comes to reporting controversial things that Democrats and Republicans have done or said. Yet she promptly turned around and applied that same double standard to Bernie Sanders and Rick Santorum.

Discussing Bernie Sanders having written in 1972 that women fantasize about being raped, Mika agreed that if Rick Santorum had written the same thing, the press would go crazy.  However, Mika claimed that wouldn't be because Santorum's a Republican, but rather would be due to "his record and his views."  When Joe Scarborough said there'd be no justification for jumping on Santorum, Mika disagreed: "there's a little bit of one."

June 1, 2015, 8:26 AM EDT

Is Al Hunt the most oblivious man in Washington, or was he just not telling the truth? On today's Morning Joe, lauding Bob Schieffer upon his retirement, Hunt actually said "I have no idea what Bob Schieffer's politics are."

No idea?  Really? Maybe Al hasn't been watching Scheiffer, but NewsBusters and its parent MRC have.  Take a look at this link for a compilation of Bob's greatest hits on Republicans and his gushing praise of Democrats.  Then come back and see us, Al, and let us know whether you now have an idea of Schieffer's politics.

May 29, 2015, 9:53 AM EDT

Willie Geist wondered out loud what would happen to a Republican candidate who had written that women fantasize about being raped--and Joe Scarborough questioned whether he would he still be in the race.

But when it's a candidate for the Dem presidential nomination who had written those words, well, that's a different story. On today's Morning Joe, when Scarborough raised the matter of Bernie Sanders having written that women fantasize about being raped, Mika Brzezinski repeatedly tried to shut him down and turn the page.

May 24, 2015, 11:47 AM EDT

Not the endorsement someone heading into the Republican primaries would normally want, but it's the one Rand Paul got.  On today's This Week [hosted by Jonathan Karl in the absence of Stephanopoulos], far-left Rep. Keith Ellison declared that on a variety of issues he is "proud to stand" with Rand Paul.

Roll the video and watch Bill Kristol look on beningly as Ellison praises Paul.  Let's read Bill's mind: every Ellison accolade was another chunk of GOP primary voters lost for Kristol's least-favorite Republican candidate. In the unkindest cut, Kristol claimed that it was Paul standing with Ellison, not the other way around,since Ellison and his fellow lefties were first to stake out those positions and Paul has now decided to become a "liberal Democrat" on them. Ouch!

May 23, 2015, 9:56 AM EDT

Ana Marie Cox remains a committed liberal, her Christian coming out, as she described it, notwithstanding.  Even so, she had a raw truth-telling moment this morning that will not please Hillary fans.

On Steve Kornacki's MSNBC show, Cox declared that close Hillary associate and informal foreign policy adviser Sidney Blumenthal is "kind of a scumbag." A scandalized Kornacki quickly interjected "that's your characterization!" and a guest from the leftist Guardian dismissed the Hillary-Sidney connection as a campaign issue.