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
March 14, 2015, 7:39 PM EDT

"Anarchists?" If only! Let's stipulate that Maureen Dowd's current column is absolutely brutal about Hillary.  Riffing off the Republicans' letter to the ayatollah, Dowd deigns to send a letter from "America" explaining the Constitution to Clinton. Dowd denounces Hillary for being "willing to cite your mother's funeral to get sympathy for ill-advisedly deleting 30,000 emails," and describes her as "an annoyed queen, radiating irritation at anyone who tries to hold you accountable."

But that won't stop us from holding Dowd accountable for her absurd shot at Republicans, whereby she writes of Hillary exploiting "our fear of the anarchists and haters in Congress."  Let's leave aside "haters," which is shorthand for people who disagree with what you like.  But "anarchists?" Really?  

March 13, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

Talk about your bitter-clingers: Crazy Larry O'Donnell just can't give up on the notion that Michael Brown might have had his hands up. On today's Morning Joe, it led to a nasty little spat with Joe Scarborough. Joe asked Jeff Roorda of the St. Louis Police Officers Association whether, "since Eric Holder agreed with your side of the story," he had received an apology from the St. Louis Rams for the "hands up, don't shoot" display that several of its players put on. 

O'Donnell interrupted to claim that "Eric Holder doesn't agree with the officers' side of the story."  According to O'Donnell, the report merely found that "hands-up" couldn't be proved "beyond reasonable doubt."  The spat was on, culminating with O'Donnell condescendingly telling Scarborough "understand what reasonable doubt is."  That led to Scarborough's saracastic "thank you so much for giving me a lecture on the law."

March 12, 2015, 7:07 AM EDT

Talk about sickeningly misplaced sympathies . . . Waking up to the news that two police officers had been shot during a protest in Ferguson, MO last night, and turning on Morning Joe, I expected the first interviews to be with family members of the wounded policemen, or perhaps with the head of a police organization, condemning the outrage.

Instead, there were Al Sharpton, and Marc Morial [of the National Urban League.]   And rather than focusing on the wounded policemen, Scarborough's first line to Sharpton painted him as a victim: "this has got to be terribly frustrating for you." Poor Al. Even more outrageous was Morial's statement that even after the resignation of several officials in Ferguson, the shootings show "that people want further change."  Incredibly, Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, instead of bringing the focus back onto the victims, seconded Morial's notion.

March 11, 2015, 9:47 PM EDT

On his MSNBC show tonight, trying to explain away a poll showing Fox News to—once again—be the most trusted national news network, Hayes argued that it was unfair since Fox was the only conservative outlet, pitted against MSNBC, CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS. 

Hayes analogized the poll to one in which Mike Huckabee was placed against Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, John Kerry and Al Gore.  Huckabee would win, said Hayes, but only because people were split among the others.  Hello?  The others are all DEMOCRATS.  Just like all the non-Fox outlets you mentioned lean left.  Thanks, Chris, for making our case about liberal media bias!

March 11, 2015, 6:41 PM EDT

Could you use some "Hill-arity" after a long day? On the Ed Show Barbara Boxer claimed Republicans are going after Hillary "because they know she's exciting the public."  Right.  For good measure, Boxer said that she "unequivocally" trusts Hillary.

David Corn of way-left Mother Jones was surprisingly skeptical, saying that "whether Barbara Boxer trusts her or not," Hillary critics have a point because she "tainted the chain of custody."

March 10, 2015, 7:21 PM EDT

Which was the bigger insult to Hillary: that she might have committed hanky-panky with the handling of her email, or that she's a huge Barry Manilow fan?

On today's With All Due Respect, Mark Halperin mocked Hillary's decision to delete thousands of supposedly personal emails: "was she running out of server space because she was, like, downloading every Barry Manilow song?" John Heilemann was equally unimpressed, quoting someone who tweeted: "Nixon didn't burn the tapes but Hillary destroyed the emails."  Ouch.

March 10, 2015, 11:35 AM EDT

Let's call this one "technically true, but misleading."  On today's Daily Rundown, discussing the letter sent by Senate Republicans to the Iranian regime, Washington Post reporter Ishaan Tharoor said that "it is the president who ratifies treaties."  

Tharoor is right, but only in a trivial sense. The president does formally ratify treaties in that he exchanges instruments of ratification with the foreign power(s).   But that occurs only if and when the Senate has approved the treaty by a two-thirds majority vote. Tharoor made no mention of that little proviso.  

March 9, 2015, 6:09 PM EDT

Did Campbell Brown just give away a dirty little secret: that conservatives are blacklisted in the entertainment business?    

On today's With All Due Respect, Brown and John Heilemann were kicking around the results of a poll as to whom Americans prefer to replace Jon Stewart as Daily Show host.   Tina Fey came in first, with Dennis Miller a close second.  Said Brown: "I can't imagine Dennis Miller. Hasn't he gone right wing?" Heilemann agreed: "that's not going to work."

March 8, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT

Was he serious? It certainly wasn't obvious that conservative commentator Ben Domenech was kidding when on today's Up With Steve Kornacki he said that "the only person I think who could beat Hillary Clinton is Michelle Obama."

Domenech's comment came during a segment devoted to the subject of who might jump into the race should Hillary decide not to run.  The mere fact that there was such a segment suggests that the controversy over Hillary's email might not be the "a lot about nothing" that some claim. 

March 7, 2015, 11:23 AM EST

David Corn of mucho-left Mother Jones was the object of considerable ire for going after Bill O'Reilly in what Rush and others saw as attempted tit-for-tat over Brian Williams' inventions.  But credit Corn when it's due: he is now speaking out about how Hillary's camp is in a "defensive crouch" over her email in which Hillary's people have told him and other members of the press things that "are not true."

Corn, who has also written on the matter, made his allegations on Steve Kornacki's MSNBC show today. Corn claimed "I was told by a Clinton advocate, speaking for her, that everything was preserved by the State Department. It turns out it wasn't."  He added that by telling the press things that "aren't true," the Clinton camp turns a "level 4 fire" into a 13.

March 6, 2015, 7:10 PM EST

Who said the Hillary email story is "a lot ado about nothing": a. Mika Brzezinski; b. Lawrence O'Donnell; or c. Michael Steele?

You'd be forgiven for choosing a. or b., but it turns out that Mika said that the way Hillary handled the matter "wasn't honest" and O'Donnell said that Hillary's email system was set up "to defy" the Freedom of Information Act.  The correct answer is indeed c., Michael Steele. The former chairman of the Republican National Committee said it on today's Ed Show.

March 6, 2015, 8:29 AM EST

"This wasn't honest." That's how Mika Brzezinski described Hillary's handling of her email on today's Morning Joe. Mika also admitted that if it were Dick Cheney instead of Hillary, "I'd go crazy."

Mika's surprising admission came after Lawrence O'Donnell also made a candid comment, saying "this e-mail system was set up obviously to defy the Freedom of Information Act."

March 5, 2015, 7:49 AM EST

What's wrong with this picture: Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist being tougher on Hillary than ostensible Republican Nicolle Wallace?

On today's Morning Joe, former W aide Wallace said that Hillary would wind up releasing all her emails and they would just turn out to be "wedding stuff."  Mika had blasted Hillary for setting up her own servers, and Geist politely pointed out that since Hillary didn't have an official account, her emails are bound to contain much more than "wedding stuff." 

March 4, 2015, 9:06 AM EST

It was almost a funny moment . . . until you realized that members of the press were openly laughing at the fecklessness of the ostensible leader of the free world.

On today's Morning Joe, the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, his voice occasionally cracking with emotion, repeatedly insisted that President Obama would use military force if necessary to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.  Andrea Mitchell eventually had enough, saying in a devastating aside "ask Bashar al-Assad," an allusion of course to how President Obama ran away from his red line in Syria.  Joe Scarborough laughingly joined in, repeating "ask Assad."   Even Mika Brzezinski couldn't suppress a smile [see screencap below.]

March 3, 2015, 6:47 PM EST

On the Bloomberg TV show he co-hosts, John Heilemann—asked today to quantify on a scale of "1-to-Godzilla" how "dumb" politically it was of Hillary Clinton to use personal email—answered "Godzilla with Mothra riding on his back dumb."  Heilemann also revealed having reached out to former Hillary aides and that "to a person" they responded that the situation is a political "disaster."

Mark Halperin claimed that, substantively, Hillary might have "a leg to stand on" but that politically her decision to use personal email was "moronic."

March 3, 2015, 12:53 PM EST

In today's speech, Benjamin Netanyahu took a not-so-subtle shot at John Kerry: will the MSM notice? The Israeli PM otherwise went out of his way to be bi-partisan,  finding ways to praise President Obama and even Harry Reid.  

But Kerry came in for a stinging swipe when Netanyahu said "last year, the same [Iranian foreign minister] Zarif, who charms Western diplomats, laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood [at the Beirut Marine barracks bombing] than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden. I'd like to see someone ask him a question about that." Wonder just which Western diplomat Bibi had in mind, John?  And Netanyahu threw down the gauntlet: do you dare raise the issue with Zarif next time you go for a stroll with him?

March 3, 2015, 8:19 AM EST

When Joe and Mika interviewed New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt on today's Morning Joe, Scarborough had to work to get Schmidt to say something that was in his own article: that while Colin Powell also used private email as Secretary of State, there were no rules prohibiting that at the time. Later, Joe and Mika later remarked that they were "taken aback" by the interview and that "something else was happening" during it.  Mika mentioned that there was a "massive onslaught" of Twitter "hatred" from Hillary supporters overnight.  She wondered whether Schmidt had been on the receiving end of that hatred, and if the "fear of retribution or something" had gotten into his head.

March 2, 2015, 9:28 PM EST

Say "1964," and those of us old enough might think of the appearance on Ed Sullivan's show of some little British group called the Beatles. But Chris Matthews recalls something else: the Republican party's decision to nominate Mr. Conservative, Barry Goldwater, and his ensuing wipeout by LBJ.

On his MSNBC show tonight, Matthews suggested that Republicans are in a similarly reckless mood, and might well nominate a true conservative, electoral consequences be damned.  And, oh yeah, Chris contended that the GOP would do so out of racist motives.

February 27, 2015, 9:48 AM EST

On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski suffered a bad bout of PKSD: Post Kiss Stress Disorder. 

After a clip was rolled of John Boehner blowing kisses at a reporter, Mika got all verklempt, exclaiming "I know a lot of dirty old men who did that to me. I'm throwing up. That brought back bad memories."   Things got so bad for poor Mika that she eventually fled the set and had to be coaxed back.

February 26, 2015, 8:43 PM EST

In this week of the CPAC straw poll, the kiss of death for a Republican hopeful might be to say "endorsed by Chris Matthews."

But that dubious honor has been bestowed on Jeb Bush. On this evening's Hardball, Matthews declared that Jeb would be "the Hillary people's worst nightmare, if he runs, because if he wins the nomination the middle is in play." So Bush would be formidable because he's a moderate? Stop, Chris, you're killing Jeb!