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
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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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.