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
June 17, 2014, 9:35 AM EDT

Liberal vs. neo-con.  Isolationist vs. interventionist.  The clash over Iraq strategy between John Heilemann and Bill Kristol on today's Morning Joe had it all.  

Things got heated as Heilemann assailed Kristol's call for intervention as "absurd."  Kristol responded by suggesting that Heilemann's invocation of "American blood" was a cheap "rhetorical line."  View the video after the jump.

June 12, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT

Q. How do you know that Barack Obama's feckless foreign policy poses a serious threat to the security of the free world?  A. When a leading foreign policy voice of the Washington Post agrees with a leading foreign policy voice of the Wall Street Journal that such is the case.

It happened on today's Morning Joe, when WaPo's highly-respected David Ignatius agreed with a WSJ op-ed by Daniel Henninger, "While Obama Fiddles," that darkly concludes: "past some point, the world's wildfires are going to consume the Obama legacy. And leave his successor a nightmare." Said Ignatius: "those are harsh words from the Wall Street Journal, but I think there's a lot of truth to them." View the video after the jump.

June 11, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT

For a guy who claims "I don't want to demonize my opponents," Michael Eric Dyson does a dynamite job of it!
 
And thus, guest-hosting on MSNBC today for Ed Schultz, Dyson ripped Republicans who express "all this Christian rhetoric that we're sanctified and saved and believe in the righteousness of God," yet have the audacity to disagree with him on granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. View the video after the jump.

June 10, 2014, 8:54 AM EDT

Sure, Mika Brzezinski is a big Fauxchohantas fan who'd love to see Senator 1/32nd take on Hillary Clinton.  But regardless of her motivation, credit Mika for courageously critiquing Hillary.

In a segment on today's Morning Joe about Hillary's "dead broke" blunder, Brzezinski scolded Hillary defenders Jeremy Peters [NYT], the egregious Thomas Roberts, Eugene Robinson and Joe Scarborough.  Mika accused them of being "afraid" of the Clintons, of tiptoeing around them, and of holding their fire in hopes of being granted an interview with Hillary. View the startling video after the jump.

June 7, 2014, 10:44 AM EDT

Mark Jacobson may have set a new standard for dumb defenses of the Bergdahl deal.  Appearing on MSNBC's Up With Steve Kornacki today, scholar and Afghanistan veteran Jacobson suggested that opposition to the Bergdahl deal arises out of the soldier's religion and politics. He made a mind-boggling analogy: "My parents freaked out when I went to Afghanistan both times. If I had been captured. Do I want someone to say this nice Jewish kid over in Afghanistan, a little bit liberal, not really sure if we're going to go get him? Absolutely not."

What?? If a soldier, whatever his religion or politics, had served, to quote Susan Rice, with "honor and distinction," and a deal to retrieve him were on the table that wouldn't seriously jeopardize our national security interests, can anyone conceive that we wouldn't make it?  The objections to the Bergdahl deal arise out of the very high national security price exacted in exchange for someone who seemingly was at best AWOL, if not a deserter.  Giving the lie to Jacobson's lunacy was fellow panelist Jack Jacobs, who objected to the Bergdahl deal.  Jacobs, by the way, grew up a nice Jewish kid in NYC, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam. (Video below.)

June 5, 2014, 9:21 AM EDT

Q. When it comes to the release of five of the worst of the worst Gitmo detainees, what does Eugene Robinson know that the Pentagon doesn't?  A. That President Obama must be defended at all costs and in every circumstance.

How else to explain his mind-boggling claim on today's Morning Joe that the impact on the war of the release of five senior Taliban officials would likely be "negligible."  Incredibly, Robinson was only willing to put "senior" in skeptical air quotes [see screengrab after jump].  The WaPo columnist's claim sparked controlled outrage from Joe Scarborough, and energetic disagreement even from former Obama car czar Steve Rattner.  View the video after the jump.

June 4, 2014, 8:28 AM EDT

Psst: David Gregory! You can stop auditioning to fill Jay Carney's White House spokesman spot. President Obama has already appointed someone else.  Given his rotten Meet The Press ratings, it's understandable that Gregory would be prospecting for his next position. Even so, his performance on today's Morning Joe was pitiable.

With even liberals like Mika Brzezinski, Donny Deutsch and John Heilemann dumping on the Bergdahl deal, there was Gregory as President Obama's lone defender. Thus: Dianne Feinstein has criticized the lack of consultation?  Meh: she's been critical of the Obama admin on other things. And twice Gregory made the argument that Commanders-in-Chief, whatever the circumstances, just don't leave soldiers on the battlefield.  That was too much even for Heilemann, who argued that there are limits to what a C-in-C should do, particularly when the soldier in question might have been a deserter.  View the video after the jump.

June 3, 2014, 9:01 AM EDT

Who the hell was President Obama rescuing: Bowe Bergdahl or the Taliban terrorists themselves?  

The questions arises out of the mind-boggling defense of the Bergdahl deal proferred on today's Morning Joe by Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, who argued that by dint of the deal, "the President managed to get five guys out of Gitmo, which is a goal."  Well, at least President Obama didn't have to send Navy Seals in helicopters over the Gitmo fence to rescue the Talibans.  He achieved his goal with a mere stroke of his mighty pen.  

View the video after the jump.

June 2, 2014, 8:34 AM EDT

You really have to watch Brian Schweitzer in action to get just how much of a blowhard he is.  By the end of his appearance on today's Morning Joe, even Mika Brzezinski seemed mortified by the antics of her fellow Democrat.  And Bill Kristol's expression of utter disdain for the former Montana governor was worth the price of admission alone.

In the course of his appearance, Schweitzer--defending President Obama's deal for the release of US soldier Bowe Bergdahl--declined to call the five senior Taliban members released either terrorists or war criminals.  Even the Daily Beast, in the person of reporter Eli Lake, has called the five "some of the worst of the worst," and "considered [by the Pentagon] to be a high risk to launch attacks against the United States and its allies if they were liberated."  When talk turned to domestic politics, Schweitzer dabbled in some anti-Ted Cruz birtherism, repeatedly alluding to the Texas senator's birth in Canada. View Schweitzer's clown act on the video after the jump.

May 21, 2014, 9:05 AM EDT

Red Alert at the White House! How bad is the VA scandal? Bad enough to make even such as Sam Stein question liberalism. The VA scandal is getting so grievous for the Obama admin and for the liberal project at large that it has led even liberals to reconsider their most cherished ideological beliefs.

On today's Morning Joe, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post wondered "is liberalism, is progressivism, in this instance the right thing" given that the additional money the Obama admin spent on the VA has not yielded results?  View the video after the jump.

May 13, 2014, 9:24 AM EDT

There was a real dust-up on today's Morning Joe over Benghazi and the House select committee empanelled to investigate it.  In the move-on-nothing-to-see corner were Chuck Todd and Donny Deutsch.  Opposing them was Nicolle Wallace, who made an impassioned case that the Obama admin's cover-up of the talking points that the White House furnished to Susan Rice, falsely blaming the attack on an internet video, merits anger and investigation.

As MRC's Jeffrey Meyer has noted, Todd has been on a tear trying to downplay Benghazi and disparage the select committee.  But in his determination to defend all things Obama, Todd today ran badly afoul of the facts.  He claimed that the false talking points weren't worth caring about since the Obama admin stopped citing the internet video within "two days." Could Todd truly have forgotten that two weeks later, in a formal address at the United Nations, President Obama was still talking about that infernal video?  View the video after the jump.

May 6, 2014, 9:14 AM EDT

Has Morning Joe sunk to a new vulgarity low? On today's show, Joe Scarborough told a guest that being interviewed by himself rather than Mika Brzezinski represented "sloppy seconds."

Scarborough's crude comment was made in response to Walter Isaacson's complaint, after his previous appearance on the show, that Mika had not been present and he had to content himself with Joe.  "Sloppy seconds, that's horrible," said Scarborough. H/t Mike S.  View the video after the jump.

May 5, 2014, 7:34 AM EDT

¡Ay caramba! Imagine the cries of offensive ethnic stereotyping or worse if Fox News had observed Cinco de Mayo by having one of its yanqui persons of pallor stagger across the set in a sombrero while chugging from a bottle of tequila?

But it happened on MSNBC, so the PC police probably won't make a peep.  At today's transition from Way Too Early to Morning Joe, there pranced producer Louis Burgdorf with his Halloween-store sombrero and pint bottle.  WTE host Thomas Roberts encouraged Burgdorf "to drink the whole thing and eat the worm," meaning either it was mezcal not tequila or Roberts just doesn't know his south-of-the-border booze.  View the video after the jump.

April 29, 2014, 8:04 AM EDT

Demonstrating once again that Israel remains a favorite whipping boy of the liberal media, there was John Heilemann of New York magazine on today's Morning Joe defending John Kerry's grotesque claim that Israel risked becoming an "apartheid state."

According to Heilemann, Kerry's ugly accusation was "not actually an unreasonable statement."  To his credit, Joe Scarborough promptly riposted, saying "I couldn't disagree with you more."  View the video after the jump.

April 25, 2014, 9:35 AM EDT

Yesterday, MRC's Matt Hadro reported on the testy exchange NBC's Chuck Todd had with US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy regarding Hillary's possible presidential run.  Caroline and her Uncle Ted had famously endorsed  Barack Obama over Hillary back in '08, so when Todd probed Caroline on her support for a Hillary run in '16, things got, as Matt said, "prickly."

During his appearance on today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski, over Todd's mild objection, replayed the interview in which a clearly annoyed Caroline eventually snapped at Todd when he rephrased a question about her support for Hillary, saying "yeah, I just said that."  Mika and Joe Scarborough had some fun at Todd's expense over the testy exchange.  Todd, meanwhile, cautioned "I think some people are misreading that maybe—I think we should not read her mind and say 'oh, she is not enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton again."  Right.  View the amusing video after the jump.

April 24, 2014, 8:11 AM EDT

If there was anyone in America who recklessly rushed to prematurely proclaim a position on George Zimmerman, it was Joe Scarborough.  Before Zimmerman had even been arrested, at a time when even Al Sharpton was being relatively cautious with his language, Scarborough used his Morning Joe platform to brand Zimmerman a "murderer."

But there was Scarborough on today's show with the gall to condemn conservatives who "raced blindly" to embrace Zimmerman. View the video after the jump.

April 22, 2014, 7:47 AM EDT

To use a word dear to NewsBusters' dear late Noel Sheppard, ah, the delicious ironies of history. Back in 1998 Hillary Clinton famously complained of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" out to get her husband. Sixteen years later, it's Hillary herself being accused at sitting at the center of a powerful "cabal" capable of crushing political opponents.

The irony is that this unflattering portrait of Hillary's machine emanates from the media left, in the person of Mika Brzezinski.  On today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski argued that, when recently interviewed by ABC's David Muir, Warren had to deny any presidential ambitions because had she not "the Hillary Clinton cabal would close in on her and get rid of her so quickly."  View the video after the jump.

April 21, 2014, 7:55 AM EDT

Shut up, Joe Scarborough explained.  That was the Morning Joe host's advice today to people in Topeka, Kansas who are concerned that First Lady Michelle Obama's visit to the city's joint high school graduation ceremony will limit seating for family members and take the spotlight off the graduates themselves.

The man who makes his living offering his opinions and expressing his concerns instructed Kansans to "keep those concerns to yourself."   Adding insult to injury, Scarborough called the Kansans' concerns "asinine." View the video after the jump.

April 18, 2014, 10:01 AM EDT

Who would deny that Hillary could use a little softening of her icy image?  But when Andrew Ross Sorkin had the audacity to suggest that Clinton's impending grandma-hood would work to her advantage in that regard, the collective wrath of the Morning Joe panel descended on him.

John Heilemann, as is his habit, sneered.  "Republican" Nicolle Wallace actually led the Sorkin scolding, suggesting it was "stupid" to think as he did.  View the video after the jump.

April 15, 2014, 8:47 AM EDT

Q. How do you know when Barack Obama has set a dubious new record for presidential weakness?  A. When Jimmy Carter's former top adviser mocks his anemic response to an international crisis.

On today's Morning Joe, Zbigniew Brzezinski argued that the US needs to discuss with Ukraine the provision of defensive weapons in the face of the Russian threat.  He then mockingly observed: "the Ukrainians did ask us for help in that regard. Do you know what our answer has been? We offered them prepackaged food for their soldiers. Well, you can't win a military conflict by throwing pancakes at somebody." The laughter on the normally Obama-friendly set should still be ringing in the President's ears.  View the video after the jump.