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
November 4, 2013, 10:26 AM EST

Too smart to be President. Is that really Barack Obama's problem? Mika Brzezinski thinks so.

On today's Morning Joe, as Mike Barnicle and John Heilemann kicked around the notion, as others have before, that President Obama doesn't much like politics and the people in it, Brzezinski piped up with a different explanation for his aloofness: he's "too smart for the job," she suggested.  View the video after the jump.

November 3, 2013, 6:28 AM EST

MISSPEAK 1:  to speak (as a word) incorrectly 2:  to express oneself imperfectly or incorrectly [e.g., claims now that he misspoke himself]

In an editorial of today, the New York Times couldn't bring itself to say the simple truth: that President Obama lied when he repeatedly assured Americans that, under Obamacare, if they liked their healthcare insurance policies they would be able to keep them. The most the Times was able to admit was that [emphasis added throughout] "Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that."  Misspoke.  Yes, of course.  As you see from the Merriam Webster definition above, the word does not imply any intent to deceive.  Indeed, as in the example Merriam Webster offers, to misspeak implies a lack of intent.  The editorial gets worse, as you'll see after the jump.

November 2, 2013, 11:46 AM EDT

Of all the lame attempts to explain away President Obama's oft-repeated Obamacare lie that "if you like your plan, you can keep it," Melissa Harris-Perry might have come up with the most hilarious: President Obama figured people wouldn't like it!

Yes, that's what MHP actually asserted on her MSNBC show this morning, claiming the Obama administration figured people wouldn't like their plans, and would clamor for the ones offered under Obamacare.  Of course the argument still leaves Obama as having lied. Even if if a majority of people with private plans didn't like them, that would still leave millions being forced out of plans they did like. So Obama would still have lied, albeit on a smaller scale.  View the video after the jump.

November 1, 2013, 9:42 AM EDT

What an odious piece of garbage.  Today's Politico, in an article by Todd Purdum, accuses Republicans of "calculated sabotage" of Obamacare, comparing their opposition to the "pattern of 'massive resistance' not seen since the Southern states’ defiance of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954."

Purdum himself seems to recognize just how loony he comes off, writing "[t]hat may sound like a left-wing conspiracy theory . . . But there is a strong factual basis for such a charge."  Sabotage, really?  People who understand democracy would call it entirely legitimate opposition to a philosophy and a program that millions of Americans believe undermine what this country should be about. More after the jump.

November 1, 2013, 8:45 AM EDT

Nicolle Wallace has yet again demonstrated why she's a Morning Joe kind of Republican.  

Two weeks ago, even after the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, Nicolle Wallace wasn't sure she opposed the big-government monstrosity.  Today, when Joe Scarborough alluded to Clinton's infamous "what difference does it make?" line about Benghazi, there was Wallace riding to Hillary's defense: "I don't think she meant it that way."  View the video after the jump.

October 31, 2013, 8:05 AM EDT

When a network's ad—putatively for its own website—extensively features a candidate for office in a high-profile race, at what point does the ad constitute a contribution in kind to that politician's campaign?

The question arises in light of MSNBC's ad for its new website that aired on today's Morning Joe.  In the space of 30 seconds, the ad twice featured shots of Wendy Davis, the Dem candidate for Texas governor whose filibuster of a Texas law imposing restrictions on abortion made her an overnight liberal darling.  For good measure, the ad also displayed jubiliant crowd reaction to Davis's filibuster.   View the video after the jump.

October 30, 2013, 9:31 AM EDT

The Hindenburg? The Titanic? Hurricane Sandy on steroids? Any of those might have been a better analogy for the monumental mess that is Obamacare than the lame one Jon Meacham proposed on today's Morning Joe.

The presidential historian somehow sought to analogize the Obamacare fiasco to . . . the classification of ketchup as a vegetable. Huh?  View the video after the jump.

October 23, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

Don't take it from conservatives.  The co-founder of a "very, very major social-media site" has said the criticism of the Obamacare website is fair because the "technology sucks."

So reported Willie Geist on today's Morning Joe, telling panelists that the person he interviewed was co-founder of a site so major that they would all know it and might have it open on their computers as he spoke. View the video after the jump.

 

October 22, 2013, 9:18 AM EDT

For all his accomplishments, Henry Louis Gates might be doomed to being best remembered as the man whose arrest led to the "Beer Summit." But the Harvard prof had something surprising to say on today's Morning Joe: Gates questioned the need for affirmative action for affluent African-Americans, saying instead such programs should seek to help poor people, regardless of race.

Gates made the personal political, citing the case of his own two daughters, whom Gates described as having a "privileged" life."Do they really need to benefit from affirmative action?", asked Gates rhetorically.  View the video after the jump.

October 21, 2013, 8:25 AM EDT

So, were they lying, or merely clueless?  

On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough disclosed that in off-the-record briefings prior to the rollout of the Obamacare website, Obama administration officials were "extraordinarily confident" of success.  They displayed a site that Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski said looked "great," "very user friendly" and "very simple." View the video after the jump.

October 19, 2013, 10:48 AM EDT

Watch out, Alan Grayson: you've got competition when it comes to uttering the ugliest slur on Tea Party Republicans . . .  

Sure, you've compared them to the Klan. But fellow Dem Steve Cohen has upped the ante.  On Steve Kornacki's MSNBC show this morning, Cohen called Tea Party congressmen: "domestic enemies" that he took an oath to defend the country against.  Did Kornacki challenge Cohen's libel?  Hah!  He merely observed that Cohen sounded "very pessimistic." View the video after the jump.

October 18, 2013, 10:42 AM EDT

It was enough to make a conservative yearn for the good old Bush-era days of "Dissent Is Patriotic" . . .

For there on Morning Joe today was former Obama official Melody Barnes, warning Americans to "back off" their Reagan-inspired opposition to big government in general and Obamacare in particular.  Instead, instructed Barnes, Americans should focus on making Obamacare work. View the video after the jump.

October 16, 2013, 8:50 AM EDT

Amidst all the blather about Republicans going over the cliff and taking the world with them, a tantalizing bit of truth broke through on today's Morning Joe. Doomsaying notwithstanding, the GOP is actually positioned to do OK in 2014.

Making the comment particularly surprising was its source: none other than Barack Obama's former senior adviser himself—David Axelrod.  View the video after the jump.

October 15, 2013, 8:04 AM EDT

Nicolle Wallace is the perfect MSNBC kind of Republican: the kind who isn't sure if she opposes Obamacare.

On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough was seeking to make the point that while Republicans are divided over tactics, they are ideologically united in opposition to Obamacare.  To demonstrate his thesis, Scarborough asked Wallace whether she supports Obamacare, taking it for granted that she would express her opposition.  Amazingly, Wallace responded that she "wasn't sure anymore," then quoted her [former Bush aide] husband who had wondered "what do we hate about it?" She did then catch heself and admitted to not supporting Obamacare on the grounds that the government is not a competent deliverer of healthcare.  Too late: Wallace had already betrayed her RINO roots.  View the video after the jump.

October 14, 2013, 9:14 AM EDT

Did you really have to be a pluperfect political prognosticator to have foreseen that none of Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann or Donald Trump was going to be the 2012 Republican presidential nominee?

Yet on today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough—by way of establishing his fortune-telling street cred—boasted of having made those predictions, before proceeding to claim that: 1. Ted Cruz will not be the 2016 Republican nominee; and 2. there's a "very real chance" that Cruz will break from the GOP and run as an independent.  View the video after the jump.

October 10, 2013, 8:24 AM EDT

Can you tell that "Bulgarian," "Sunbeam," and "Vladivostok" are different words?  Congratulations: you're smarter than the Obamacare website!  Just for fun, I tried to create an Obamacare account at Healthcare.gov this morning.  At 6:48 AM CDT, I had no trouble getting in. Things were going swimmingly . . . until it came time to choose security questions and provide answers.  

As you'll see from the screengrab, I was informed that my account could not be created because "two or more answers to the security questions cannot be the same. You must provide distinct answers to the chosen security questions."  President Obama, Secretary Sebelius, or anybody else out there, please tell me, which of the following words are the same: "Bulgarian," "Sunbeam" and "Vladivostok"? Because those are, as you'll see from the screencap after the jump, the three answers I gave.  Note: the first time I tried and failed, I supplied real answers, but for purposes of this blog, when I tried again I used fanciful ones.  Didn't want the whole world to know that my favorite cuisine is actually Indian. Oops!] More after the jump.

October 8, 2013, 7:53 AM EDT

Poor Carl Bernstein: he's suffering a bad bout of MSM nostalgia. He longs for the good old media days when the news was dominated by the likes of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the then three broadcast networks. They could slam Republicans with impunity, without any conservative media counterweight.

In covering the shutdown, today's media culture, kvetches Carl, is just too darn fair and balanced in its treatment of those lying, McCarthyite Republicans. That's why President Obama and the congressional Dems' poll numbers are surprisingly bad.  Such was Carl's complaint on today's Morning Joe. View the video after the jump.

October 4, 2013, 9:17 AM EDT

Imagine that Jeff Bezos asked his vice-president for sales IT how many people had purchased products from Amazon the day before, and the veep said he'd get back to him "in a few weeks."  How many nanoseconds do you think that hapless employee would last in his job?

But on today's Morning Joe, there  was the Obama admin's David Simas, sporting the lofty title of Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications and Strategy, smiling insouciantly while saying that it would be a "few weeks" before the Obama admin would say how many people had signed up for Obamacare. Conclusion: either: 1. the Obama admin's information technology planning and implementation is grossly incompetent; and/or 2. President Obama doesn't want Americans to know just how few people have signed up for Obamacare--particularly in the young-and-healthy demographic, upon whose willingness to make the uneconomic choice of signing up the entire house of cards hinges. View the video after the jump.

October 3, 2013, 2:20 PM EDT

Quick: how much were Social Security, Medicaid and food stamps cut by the sequester? Zero, you say?  Those programs were exempted from sequester cuts, and Medicare was reduced by only 2%? Correctomundo!  

So what was Andrea Mitchell thinking when she claimed on her MSNBC show that the sequester "gutted" social programs? You tell me.  View the video after the jump.

October 3, 2013, 12:03 PM EDT

In one insulting swoop, Joe Scarborough managed this morning to impugn the intelligence of his viewers and of Republicans.

According to Scarborough: "I know a lot of people aren't really smart out there."  As for Republicans, Scarborough said he felt sorry for them "because they should have paid more attention in school. They wouldn't be so easily confused by 140-character statements."  All this was preface to his suggestion that President Obama accept the Republican proposal to fund such things as NIH, taking the issue of kids with cancer off the table.  Ironic, given that earlier in the show, Scarborough said "if I were the President I wouldn't negotiate." View the video after the jump.