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
February 9, 2015, 7:12 AM EST

Joe Scarborough's defense of Brian Williams amounts to a warning to people in the media and politics: I know a lot about many of you, too.

On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough ominously said: "in over a decade in this news business, it is fair to say looking straight in the camera, I've seen a lot, I know a lot, and I know that there are very few people in this industry or in politics that could live by the standard of perfection. Cast the first stone? I would be careful."

February 5, 2015, 8:33 AM EST

Should the United States not send arms to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia because our country would be angered if Russia armed Mexico against Texas?  A strange analogy, no?  

But it's the one Joe Scarborough made on today's Morning Joe: "what is Vladimir Putin's response going to be to the United States arming Ukraine? Certainly I would guess no better than, you know, the Russians arming Mexico with weapons against Texas."

February 3, 2015, 8:31 AM EST

Rand Paul to reporter: "Calm down a bit here, Kelly. Let me answer the question." Joe Scarborough to guest: 'Let me finish my sentence and then you can be a condescending liberal Emanuel." The two responses sound similar, don't they? Two guys getting frustrated by their interlocutors' interruptions. 

The irony is that Joe Scarborough devoted a segment on today's Morning Joe to rapping Rand Paul for "shushing" that reporter, whereas a bit later in the show, Scarborough himself shut down a guest with such similar language.

February 2, 2015, 10:58 AM EST

On today's Morning Joe, Donny Deustch defended Mike Huckabee's statement that he can be friendly with gays although he doesn't share their lifestyle, in the same way he can be friendly with people who drink alcohol, use profanity, or like classical music or ballet, even though he doesn't engage in or enjoy those activities.

But when Joe Scarborough stated that for thousands of years Christians and Jews have believed that homosexuality is not a preferable way of living, Deutsch protested "where did Jews say it's not okay to live that way?"  Scarborough and Mark Halperin pointed out to Deutsch that the prohibition is in the Old Testament.

January 30, 2015, 8:46 AM EST

You say "Jeb Bush," Thomas Roberts says "the Kouachi brothers." 

It's got to be one of the strangest political Rorschach test results of all time. On today's Morning Joe, Roberts claimed that Jeb Bush would have a "big onus" around his neck if he runs for president "because if we hear 'Bush' we're automatically going to go to people bringing up the Kouachi brothers and their photos of Abu Ghraib that radicalized them about Iraq."

January 29, 2015, 8:29 AM EST

Ayman Mohyeldin has suggested that Chris Kyle, the real "American Sniper," was a "racist" whose military missions were nothing less than "killing sprees." 

With opinions like that, you might imagine Mohyeldin to be some unhinged bloviator from the bowels of the anti-American far left. Or, an NBC foreign correspondent [who formerly worked for Al Jazeera] who regularly reports on events in the Middle East.  Which is exactly what he is.  Ayman vented his bile on today's Morning Joe.

January 26, 2015, 8:43 AM EST

On today's Morning Joe, Nicolle Wallace was asked to comment on conservative columnist Byron York's panning of Palin's speech as "long, rambling, and at times barely coherent." York's column also passed along criticism of the speech by a number of Iowa Republicans.  Wallace said that it was interesting to see York come "full circle," since back in 2008 he had been a Palin defender, blaming the campaign for the way she was packaged.  Wallace then doubled down with this dig: "This is who she is. This to me is evidence that she has finally shed every last one of those annoying handlers." Reeoorw!  

January 23, 2015, 8:18 AM EST

On today's Morning Joe, commenting on the arrest of Dem NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on bribery charges, Rattner claimed that "they don't pay these guys full-time salaries. They pay them, I think, $112,000 a year."  

January 22, 2015, 9:12 AM EST

Jim VandeHei sees dead people. On today's Morning Joe, the Politico honcho agreed with Joe Scarborough's suggestion that Chris Christie is like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense: [politically] dead but doesn't know it.

Ironically, Scarborough distanced himself from his own suggestion, twice saying that he didn't believe it. But when he asked his guest if the characterization was fair, Vandehei replied "I think it is. At best he's a live man stumbling."

January 20, 2015, 11:37 AM EST

Tuning into the middle of a Morning Joe segment today, at first I assumed that MSNBC's Ari Melber was chatting with the Oscar nominees.  But no, turns out Melber had scored interviews with President Obama's SOTU speechwriting team. You'll excuse my confusion. As you'll see, just like the Oscar hopefuls, the SOTU writers appear to be a panorama of people of pallor. 

January 16, 2015, 9:32 AM EST

Interesting: Cuba's Bureau of Tourism sponsored a three-minute promo on today's Morning Joe. Oh, wait, no.  That was NBC itself, in the person of Kate Snow, with a smiley, unrelentingly upbeat segment promoting the glories of tourism in Cuba that will now be possible for Americans under President Obama's executive order relaxing former restrictions.

Snow's segment—entitled 'Bienvenidos a Cuba' just like a travelogue—had it all: beaches, dancing in the streets, cigars, rum, beer and all those nifty vintage cars potentially available to collectors. So, you ask, what did Snow have to say about the repressive Communist regime that continues to rule Cuba?  Nada, naturally.  Don't harsh the Cohiba mellow, compadre!

January 15, 2015, 10:10 AM EST

Europe has been the target of numerous acts of Muslim terrorism, while its economies suffer and unemployment is rampant.  The United States is still recovering from 9-11 and has been the object of a number of terrorist attacks/attempts since then.  Yet in neither country is there a voice in mainstream television saying that right-wing parties might have a point when they advocate limits on immigration.

That was Joe Scarborough's point on today's Morning Joe: "I have yet to hear one person on American television or European television, mainstream, say these people [right-wingers favoring immigration restrictions] may have a point."

January 14, 2015, 9:01 PM EST

Has Ed Schultz watched The Manchurian Candidate one time too many?  On his MSNBC show this evening, Ed tried to pin a wacky conspiracy theory on conservatives.  According to Schultz: conservatives are "trying to get Americans to buy into this is if you're a Muslim and you're here in the united States, you're a plant."  So conservatives are trying to convince Americans that Dearborn, Michigan is one big sleeper cell? Really, Ed? Got any evidence to support your fevered accusation? 

January 13, 2015, 8:28 AM EST

"We Blame George W. Bush" is a recurring category in James Taranto's "Best of the Web Today" column at the Wall Street Journal.  The meme mocks the penchant of progressives to blame the former president for everything under the sun.  

The phenomenon was illustrated in an ugly way on last night's Rachel Maddow Show. Dem Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut blamed the existence of the Charlie Hebdo terrorists on, yup, W.  Oh, Murphy didn't call 43 out by name.  He didn't have to.  Instead, Murphy went out of his way to claim that the murderers weren't radicalized by ISIS [which might thus be attributable to Obama's neglect], but instead as a result of "the invasion and occupation of Iraq," which he described as a "decade-long mistake."  Got it?  Iraq not ISIS. Decade-long, not recent.  Not Obama's fault.  All together now: We Blame George W. Bush.

January 12, 2015, 2:52 PM EST

Shades of Pauline Kael! Tuning to Ronan Farrow's MSNBC show today, I was surprised to find him in Paris, and asked myself: what is he doing there?  One thing shortly became clear, he wasn't talking to a wide range of people.

Because in discussing the absence of any top US officials from President Obama on down from the Paris march yesterday, Farrow claimed that "everyone here that I spoke to personally said they understood the limitations of schedule that led to that." Everyone?  Really, Ronan?  What kind of bubble do you float in?

January 12, 2015, 8:08 AM EST

It's not enough to read the transcript.  You really need to view the video to appreciate the depths of Christopher Dickey's world-weary, dismissive, preening political correctness. Asked on today's Morning Joe to comment on Muslim preachers inciting violence from their pulpits, Dickey of The Daily Beast sniffed that the problem is "exaggerated," claimed that the number of violent Muslims is "infinitesimally small" [down even from the "minuscule" number he cited last week], and engaged in the most fraudulent form of moral equivalency, saying that there are also crazy Christian, Jewish and Hindu preachers who incite their congregations.

January 10, 2015, 10:30 AM EST

"We think Texas was right to reject the Confederate plates, but that North Carolina should have issued the abortion rights plates.  How can this be?  Are we merely siding with liberals in both cases?  No."

Methinks the two professors who wrote those lines in a New York Times op-ed appearing today doth protest too much. Their column opines on a case before the Supreme Court deciding the circumstances under which states can refuse to issue vanity license plates.

January 9, 2015, 2:27 PM EST

Sand, meet head of Hollande.  In his just-concluded speech on the terrorist attacks in his country, Socialist French President Francois Hollande claimed that the terrorists "have nothing to do with the Muslim religion."

Of course.  Terrorists run through Charlie Hebdo, shouting "allahu akbar" as they murder, and proclaim themselves to be acting in the name of al Qaeda of Yemen.  Why would anyone think this had anything to do with the Muslim religion? As my MRC colleague Rich Noyes observed, Hollande must watch MSNBC [where Howard Dean expressed a similar sentiment.]

January 9, 2015, 8:27 AM EST

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the man who advised President Obama to shoot down Israeli planes, now argues for the appeasement of radical Islam.

Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser criticized some of the satire directed at Islam as "unnecessarily nasty" and "extraordinarily provocative."  He said that it was very important "to avoid becoming the number one enemy of the fanatics." Brzezinski argued that we must not be engaged "in anything that appears to be a struggle against Islam," and he criticized President George W. Bush for speaking of a war against "jihadist terror." According to Brzezinksi, "jihadist terror to Islam, to Muslims, means just war." 

January 8, 2015, 8:36 PM EST

Could the Charlie Hebdo attack be opening the eyes of some in the liberal media?

On his MSNBC show this evening, Ed Schultz surprisingly said "when something like [Charlie Hebdo] comes up, when you start talking about the militarization of police you start understand it a little bit or maybe to view it in a different light."   Welcome to the real world, Ed.