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 31, 2015, 9:31 AM EDT

On today's Morning Joe, liberal Republican Nicolle Wallace sought to slough off a Politico article reporting that Jeb Bush is losing the influential "Laura Ingraham primary." Claimed Wallace, who served as Jeb's press secretary when he was governor of Florida, Ingraham "hates everybody.  She always hates the Republicans more than the Democrats at this point, too."

Wallace even suggested that Ingraham's criticism of McCain [for whom Wallace also worked] and Romney contributed to their defeats: "will we ever wonder what effect that has in the outcome; both guys lost?  Do we think it's good to cheer down our own side? I just wish we spent as much time cheering against the Democrats."

March 30, 2015, 9:44 AM EDT

Not even a lifeline could have helped her . . . There was a telling moment on today's Morning Joe when Joe Scarborough challenged April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks to cite some of President Obama's foreign-policy successes.

Ryan was reduced to replying "that's kind of tough. Hmm, that's a tough one . . . I have to really ponder that."  

 

March 29, 2015, 10:38 AM EDT

Two days ago I ordered online a used copy of Milton & Rose Friedman's classic "Free to Choose," hoping a liberal loved one would be willing to read it. That doesn't look like it's going to happen, so now I'm tempted to send the book to Barney Frank—since it's apparent that, like many liberals, he doesn't understand the most basic notions of how free markets work.

On Steve Kornacki's MSNBC show today, Frank described business creators as being "given privileges." Barney then added this mind-boggler: "there's only a limited amount of space, there's only a limited amount of businesses. Your being there means somebody else wouldn't be."  

March 27, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

This had to be one of the more telling moments about the emptiness of Hillary Clinton's campaign.  When Mika Brzezinski asked Morning Joe panel members today to describe Hillary's message "in ten seconds or less," they burst into laughter.  "Why is that funny?" demanded Mika, surely knowing the answer: that Hillary stands for nothing much more than "it's my turn, dammit!"

But that didn't stop Anne Gearan of the Washington Post from piping up, claiming "I can answer that.  It's 'I'm on your side and they're not."  As Newsbuster Ken Shepherd has detailed, Gearan has been "ready for Hillary" for a long time. But in fairness, perhaps Gearan is on to something.  Hillary really is on your side . . . assuming you've donated a minimum of a million bucks to the Clinton Foundation.

March 26, 2015, 7:50 PM EDT

Mark Halperin just compared the way Hillary has been foisted on Dem voters to the empty "choices" that Cubans have when it comes to their leaders.

On this evening's With All Due Respect, when Dem strategist Steve McMahon claimed that Dems are happy with "the" choice they have in the person of Hillary,  Halperin retorted "like the way Cuban voters are happy with their choices."

March 24, 2015, 10:08 AM EDT

Morning Joe went on the air in 2007. Think of all the outrage-provoking people and events that have popped up in the ensuing eight years.  Yet in the memory of this Newsbuster—who's been blogging the show since its debut—rarely has Mika Brzezinski seemed more upset than she was today on the subject of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  

Just what is it that drives Brzezinski so batty about Bibi? Mika gave a little hint when she challenged the integrity of her guests for declining to join in her blasting of Bibi: "I just want to know what you're all afraid of. I do."  Hmm.  Mika apparently thinks there's something about the Israelis, or their friends in the US, that frightens American reporters and pundits from speaking their minds.  What might that be?

March 23, 2015, 11:22 AM EDT

Warning: readers are advised to hide the sharp objects before viewing the clip of Morning Joe's review of the Middle East today.  The picture painted is one of the utter failure of US foreign policy, leaving a devastated, deadly region in its woeful wake.

We open with President Obama's "mission accomplished" moment from last year in which he called US policy in Yemen "successful." Cut to Jim Miklaszewski saying that the White House had to order US special forces out of the country, leaving us with absolutely no leverage. Then to Iraq, where two experts say Iraq as a country is finished and falling under the hand of Iran's radical Quds forces.  On to Israel, where even Richard Engel chides President Obama for the churlish way he has perpetuated his public spat with Bibi. Donny Deutsch sounds a political note, observing that many Dem-leaning Jews—including big donors—side with Bibi, thus presenting Hillary with a big challenge for 2016. 

March 21, 2015, 11:54 AM EDT

Bracket busted? How about a nice Marxist critique of the NCAA tournament? Call it the theory of surplus value in high-tops . . . 

On Melissa Harris-Perry's MSNBC show today, David Zirin, sports guy at the far-left Nation mag, called the NCAA tournament nothing less than "the organized theft of black wealth."

March 18, 2015, 8:27 AM EDT

Things got chippy on Morning Joe today after Amy Holmes of The Blaze pointed out that President Obama has personalized and publicized his conflict with Benjamin Netanyahu in a way he hasn't done even with despots like Kim Jong Un or the Castro brothers.

When Holmes added that "only Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be the focal point of this president's ire," former Obama spokesman Gibbs called Holmes' statement "the silliest thing I've probably heard in a long time."

March 17, 2015, 7:39 PM EDT

Imagine the secret scene inside the White House if Bibi Netanyahu had lost tonight: President Obama popping the bubbly as Samantha Power and John Kerry danced an Irish jig? There's no denying that the Obama admin ardently davened [prayed] for Bibi's defeat.  Top Obama campaign aides had been dispatched to Israel for that very purpose. Indeed, there are even allegations that the Obama admin had underwritten the effort to defeat Netanyahu.

But in a classic MSM bit of hypocritical hand-wringing, on this evening's With All Due RespectJohn Heilemann lamented that he was "saddened" to hear that an adviser to Netanyahu said that his victory would be "a defeat for Barack Obama."  

March 17, 2015, 8:15 AM EDT

Imagine you're David Brock, James Carville or Lanny Davis.  Stop: no!  Can't do that to our Newsbusters readers. Let's just picture someone in the Hillary camp—even Herself. He/she's settled in front of the tube this morning, Grande, two-pump Vanilla, Non-Fat, Extra Hot Latte in hand, and tuned to fave show: Morning Joe.

Suddenly, from an array of people, you hear these phrases: "in jail for five to ten years"; "Clinton fatigue especially among Democratic primary voters"; "perjury charges"; "I'm still not certain she's going to be a candidate"; and more and more people in the inside [saying] they don't think -- they're not so sure she's going to run."  What the? You double check just to make sure you haven't—God forbid—dialed Fox News.  But no, it's MSNBC!

March 16, 2015, 8:52 AM EDT

Imagine the audacity of a freshman senator presuming to speak out forcefully on foreign affairs!  What?  You thought we were alluding to Barack Obama, who after less than a year in the Senate and with no discernible foreign policy credentials began a campaign to become Commander-in-Chief?

No, no, no!  We were talking about Tom Cotton, of course!  On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski castigated Cotton as a "toddler" and a "fool" for writing that letter to Iran.  For good measure, Al Hunt said that, like America, Iran has its "crazies" too. Did Hunt just equate Republican senators who sign a letter to those in Iran who have killed Americans and others around the world with impunity? So who's crazy now?

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."