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
August 4, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

Isaiah 1:18: "Come now, and let us reason together." Joe Scarborough: My critics are "morons, and I can call them that."  The notoriously thin-skinned Morning Joe host is at it again.  Scarborough typically dings those who dare differ with him as Cheetos-chompers living in their mothers' basement. But Scarborough escalated the hostilities this morning, declaring that those who criticize his stance on Israel are "morons," and that he has been pro-Israel since the days that his critics were having their behinds wiped by mom.

Scarborough had caused a firestorm last week when, as NewsBuster Connor Williams reported, he accused Israel of "indiscriminate" attacks on Gaza.  Scarborough again made the "indiscriminate" accusation this morning, and no doubt anticipating additional criticism, launched his pre-emptive strike.  View the video after the jump.

August 1, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT

Do Gaza civilians support Hamas' military operations that use them as human shields and store weapons in their schools and mosques?  Ayman Mohyeldin would have you think so.  On today's Morning Joe, the NBC reporter claimed that among Gazans, Hamas' military wing is "very highly revered."

To which Israeli spokesman Mark Regev had a stunning comeback: "I mean, if you walk down the street in Gaza with an NBC camera and you ask people, well, was Hamas shooting from this building that the Israelis targeted? No, everyone will say, of course, not. Because you have a regime that is ultimately authoritarian and violent to its own people and they have that ability to control the message. It's like walking down the street in Cuba with a camera and saying do you like Fidel Castro? What can people say?"  View the video after the jump.

July 31, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT

Latest dispatch from the Department of Too Much Information: Thomas Roberts wants you to know that if diagnosed with low-T, he would take a testosterone supplement "without hesitation."

More surprising is Roberts' reckless attitude.  Asked whether testosterone's possible health risks would dissuade him from taking the hormone, Roberts replied: "No. I want to live today, I will borrow from tomorrow."  Roberts' startling admission came during today's Morning Joe segment on Time's current cover story, "Manopause," which looks into the testosterone-supplement boom and its associated dangers.  Roberts' statement shocked his fellow panelists. View the video after the jump.

July 30, 2014, 9:50 AM EDT

There are days when Mika Brzezinski will surprise you.  Take Morning Joe today, and Brzezinski's comments on the news that ESPN had suspended Stephen A. Smith for a week for his comments about women "provoking" domestic violence.

Said Mika: "I think it's too bad we can't have a conversation without people exploding, because I think he was trying to make a point. It might have been inartful but there was a point to what he was saying that is absolutely valid and has value."  Surprising, no?  View the video after the jump.

July 29, 2014, 7:39 AM EDT

Everyone knows how safe the streets of Washington, DC are [where as of 2010 violent crime was three times the national average], and how DC criminals scrupulously respect the District's very restrictive gun-control laws. So of course the last thing you would want is to permit law-abiding citizens to exercise their Constitutional rights to keep and bear arms.  Why, that would only lead to the Gunfight at the DC Corral.  No, better to keep all the guns in the hands of criminals.  

Such seems to be Eugene Robinson's logic.  On today's Morning Joe, the Washington Post columnist bemoaned a federal judge's ruling that DC's total ban on public carry is unconstitutional.  According to Robinson, "Congress and the courts are essentially saying no, go ahead, shoot it out." View the video after the jump.

July 23, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

Churchill: Never give in. Never, never, never.  FDR: The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.  Obama: Fore left!  Sometimes public service demands too much of a man.  Take poor Tony Blinken.  Appearing on Morning Joe today, President Obama's  Deputy National Security Adviser actually claimed that the president was exhibiting "extraordinary leadership" in putting pressure on Russia over Ukraine.

Yes, so "extraordinary" that even as Blinken was being introduced, news was breaking that the Putin-backed Ukrainian rebels had resumed their terrorist ways, shooting down two Ukrainian military planes. View the video after the jump.

July 22, 2014, 9:48 AM EDT

The man who suggested that the US shoot down Israeli airplanes is at it again.  Surveying the Israeli/Hamas conflict, Zbigniew Brzezinski couldn't summon up one word of condemnation for Hamas' intentional targeting of Israeli civilians with thousands of rockets and mortars.

Instead, Jimmy Carter's national security adviser had harsh words for only one person: Benjamin Netanyahu. Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski said he didn't include Netanyahu in the category of leaders man enough to negotiate, accusing the Israeli PM of having "scuttled" peace efforts--again without a word of criticism for Hamas. Zbigniew ended his anti-Israel tirade by decrying that "the ideologues, hard-liners, the ones that promulgate confrontation are in charge, and that's what's so hard and so disgustingly destructive."  Any disgustingly destructive hard-liners in Gaza, Zbig?  View the video after the jump.

July 18, 2014, 11:24 AM EDT

It was strange.  Joe Scarborough had just completed a comprehensive indictment of failed American foreign policy  around the globe.  But at the very moment when he should have laid those disasters at the feet of the sitting President of the United States, Scarborough came down with a bad case of . . . cold feet.

Scarborough laid out to David Gregory a tour d'horizon of failed American foreign policy from the Middle East, to Iran, to Russia/Ukraine, describing it as "one disaster after another. One strikeout after another."  But perhaps fearful of where the ineluctable logic of his comments was taking him, Scarborough suddenly made nice, saying "of course that is not directed to President Obama."  Really? Who's been in the White House for the last six years?  View the video after the jump.

July 17, 2014, 10:37 AM EDT

But enough about me.  Let's talk about how you feel about me . . . Maybe Barack Obama should modify his famous New Age-y line, uttered after the 2008 Super Tuesday results, to read "I am the one I have been waiting for." In recent times, it's become an entertaining parlor game to count the number of self references in President Obama's public statements.  

The latest opportunity to play the game comes via a fund-raising email the prez sent out this morning. Defiantly entitled "I Won't Apologize," the short message contains by my count no fewer than 11 self-references [12 if you count the URL for the fund-raising link]—a self-adoring assortment of I, I'm, I'll and me. View the complete email after the jump.

July 9, 2014, 7:52 AM EDT

Bartender—send a double Wyborowa with a Zoloft chaser to the nice lady at the end of the table.  But seriously, relax, Mika.  Four months before an election in which they are poised to triumph, congressional Republicans are not about to muddy the waters by trying to impeach President Obama.

But on today's Morning Joe, that reality did not prevent Mika Brzezinski from getting verklempt and asking for time to compose herself before introducing a segment on impeachment talk from Sarah Palin and Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst.  View the amusing video after the jump.

July 4, 2014, 9:14 AM EDT

So how did Good Morning America open its Fourth of July show today?  Fighter-jet flyover?  Small-town Independence Day parade? Inspiring video of America's beauty from sea to shining sea?  Guess again.  GMA featured rapper Jason Derulo [I never heard of him either], jet skiing past the Statue of Liberty.

And which song did GMA place at the top of the list when it displayed a smartphone with Derulo's hits? Why, "Talk Dirty" [mistakenly entitled "Talking Dirty" by GMA].  A song so foul and misogynistic we couldn't possibly display the lyrics, but you can read them here if you like. View the video after the jump.

June 30, 2014, 8:24 AM EDT

Hobby Lobby's objection on religious grounds to paying for abortion-causing contraceptives for its employees reminds Eugene Robinson of segregationists who cited the Bible in support of their views.  In his great magnimity, Robinson allowed that the Hobby Lobby case "is perhaps a bit different." But if the WaPo columnist didn't think the segregation analogy were relevant, he presumably wouldn't have cited it in the first place on today's Morning Joe.

There was also a point of light on the show.  Donny Deutsch, after announcing that he was "far from a conservative," nevertheless went on to make the explicitly free-market argument that "nobody is forcing anybody to work at Hobby Lobby."  View the video after the jump.

June 23, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

Someday, Barack Obama might make a fine professor somewhere.  In the meantime, someone should remind him that he's still President of the United States . . . If President Obama thought he was going to score some easy media points by sitting down for an interview with Mika Brzezinski last Friday, he was badly mistaken.  Morning Joe aired the interview today, to bad reviews by its guests.

Dem Donny Deutsch didn't want to say--but said--that Obama looked "checked out," and seemed like he "wants to go home."  Mark Halperin observed that Republicans resonate when they say that Obama is not "taking control." Commenting on Obama's long disquisition on the complications of the Syrian situation, Halperin observed: "it's up to the President of the United States to take some bold action to try to address [problems] and not just sit and say here's why this is hard, here's why this is hard." It's as if Barack Obama sees himself in the faculty lounge, offering exquisite insights on the problems of the day, rather than in the Oval Office, with the obligation to address them. View the video after the jump.

June 19, 2014, 7:32 AM EDT

Looks like it's not just in Iraq where civil war is breaking out. Seems that it could also be happening at MSNBC, with Iraq ironically being the flashpoint.

Two nights ago, Rachel Maddow condemned TV shows that book original Iraq war hawks like Paul Bremer. Maddow specifically called out her very own MSNBC for having given Bremer air time.  And just where had Bremer appeared on the Lean Forward network? Morning Joe.  So you have to imagine that Joe Scarborough might well have had Maddow in mind when on today's show he said "I don't know why some people are so intellectually weak that they're afraid to actually listen."  Sniped Scarborough: if people "wanted to watch people just saying what they--what everybody else in a little circle believe, they could watch certain shows on prime time cable." Wonder which show Joe had in mind?  View the video after the jump.

June 17, 2014, 9:35 AM EDT

Liberal vs. neo-con.  Isolationist vs. interventionist.  The clash over Iraq strategy between John Heilemann and Bill Kristol on today's Morning Joe had it all.  

Things got heated as Heilemann assailed Kristol's call for intervention as "absurd."  Kristol responded by suggesting that Heilemann's invocation of "American blood" was a cheap "rhetorical line."  View the video after the jump.

June 12, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT

Q. How do you know that Barack Obama's feckless foreign policy poses a serious threat to the security of the free world?  A. When a leading foreign policy voice of the Washington Post agrees with a leading foreign policy voice of the Wall Street Journal that such is the case.

It happened on today's Morning Joe, when WaPo's highly-respected David Ignatius agreed with a WSJ op-ed by Daniel Henninger, "While Obama Fiddles," that darkly concludes: "past some point, the world's wildfires are going to consume the Obama legacy. And leave his successor a nightmare." Said Ignatius: "those are harsh words from the Wall Street Journal, but I think there's a lot of truth to them." View the video after the jump.

June 11, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT

For a guy who claims "I don't want to demonize my opponents," Michael Eric Dyson does a dynamite job of it!
 
And thus, guest-hosting on MSNBC today for Ed Schultz, Dyson ripped Republicans who express "all this Christian rhetoric that we're sanctified and saved and believe in the righteousness of God," yet have the audacity to disagree with him on granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. View the video after the jump.

June 10, 2014, 8:54 AM EDT

Sure, Mika Brzezinski is a big Fauxchohantas fan who'd love to see Senator 1/32nd take on Hillary Clinton.  But regardless of her motivation, credit Mika for courageously critiquing Hillary.

In a segment on today's Morning Joe about Hillary's "dead broke" blunder, Brzezinski scolded Hillary defenders Jeremy Peters [NYT], the egregious Thomas Roberts, Eugene Robinson and Joe Scarborough.  Mika accused them of being "afraid" of the Clintons, of tiptoeing around them, and of holding their fire in hopes of being granted an interview with Hillary. View the startling video after the jump.

June 7, 2014, 10:44 AM EDT

Mark Jacobson may have set a new standard for dumb defenses of the Bergdahl deal.  Appearing on MSNBC's Up With Steve Kornacki today, scholar and Afghanistan veteran Jacobson suggested that opposition to the Bergdahl deal arises out of the soldier's religion and politics. He made a mind-boggling analogy: "My parents freaked out when I went to Afghanistan both times. If I had been captured. Do I want someone to say this nice Jewish kid over in Afghanistan, a little bit liberal, not really sure if we're going to go get him? Absolutely not."

What?? If a soldier, whatever his religion or politics, had served, to quote Susan Rice, with "honor and distinction," and a deal to retrieve him were on the table that wouldn't seriously jeopardize our national security interests, can anyone conceive that we wouldn't make it?  The objections to the Bergdahl deal arise out of the very high national security price exacted in exchange for someone who seemingly was at best AWOL, if not a deserter.  Giving the lie to Jacobson's lunacy was fellow panelist Jack Jacobs, who objected to the Bergdahl deal.  Jacobs, by the way, grew up a nice Jewish kid in NYC, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam. (Video below.)

June 5, 2014, 9:21 AM EDT

Q. When it comes to the release of five of the worst of the worst Gitmo detainees, what does Eugene Robinson know that the Pentagon doesn't?  A. That President Obama must be defended at all costs and in every circumstance.

How else to explain his mind-boggling claim on today's Morning Joe that the impact on the war of the release of five senior Taliban officials would likely be "negligible."  Incredibly, Robinson was only willing to put "senior" in skeptical air quotes [see screengrab after jump].  The WaPo columnist's claim sparked controlled outrage from Joe Scarborough, and energetic disagreement even from former Obama car czar Steve Rattner.  View the video after the jump.