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
September 13, 2014, 2:02 PM EDT

Phyllis Bennis is a defender of Iran and its nuclear ambitions, and wants Israel wiped off the map, to be replaced by a single Palestinian state. So naturally she's a Melissa Harris-Perry fave.

Appearing yet again today on Harris-Perry's MSNBC show, Bennis put her radical views on display, arguing that many US soliders aren't truly volunteers, but are "forced in by poverty and lack of other opportunities."  "That's absolutely ridiculous," responded Iraq war veteran Earl Catagnus Jr. 

September 11, 2014, 9:41 PM EDT

On Hardball, Chris Matthews describes himself as a "skeptic" about President Obama's ISIS strategy.  Matthews argues that since the president has excluded American boots on the ground, we will be forced to rely on foreign partners to hold territory, yet there are no such viable forces available.

September 11, 2014, 8:38 AM EDT

President Obama is a great leader.  Really.  Just ask him. Seemingly ignored in the coverage of the president's ISIS speech last night was the moment when President Obama claimed that the ISIS threat was being met with "strength and resolve," then boasted that his strategy—and by extension he himself—represented "American leadership at its best."

Can anyone imagine truly great American leaders--from Washington to Lincoln to Reagan--feeling the need to claim that their plans represented "American leadership at its best?"

September 10, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT

Last month, Ed Schultz argued against any "military intervention at all" in Iraq. On this evening's show, Schultz said that President Obama shouldn't rule out boots on the ground and shouldn't "outsource" fighting to forces from other countries.

September 9, 2014, 7:24 AM EDT

All the members of the Morning Joe panel--Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist--speak approvingly of "SheRide," a new taxi service that hires only women drivers and accepts only women passengers.

September 8, 2014, 9:04 PM EDT

On MSNBC's Ed Show, NOW President Terry O'Neill gives a glum assessment of Wendy Davis' chances of winning her race for Governor of Texas: "this has always been very much an uphill battle."

September 8, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough scoffs at Thomas Friedman's suggestion that the way to confront ISIS is for the US to adopt a carbon tax and permit oil exports.

September 7, 2014, 3:52 PM EDT

In his inaugural episode as moderator of Meet The Press, Chuck Todd hits President Obama with a question from the left on the president's decision to postpone the granting of amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants until after the November, 2014 congressional elections: "what do you tell the person that's going to get deported before the election that this decision was essentially made in your hopes of saving a Democratic Senate."

September 6, 2014, 7:38 AM EDT

Rachel Maddow frets about all President Obama has on his plate and concludes: "aren't you glad you're not President?"

September 2, 2014, 11:04 PM EDT

UPDATE: Maddow has posted a misleading tweet trying to cover up her mistake.  See after the jump.

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Another embarrassing mistake by Rachel Maddow. This time Rachel has revealed her unfamiliarity with some simple world geography. On her MSNBC show this evening, discussing President Obama's impending trip to one of the Baltic states--Estonia--Maddow told anecdotes of "the last time a US President visited the Balkans."  Whoops!

Maddow waxed on about how the last time an American president visited the "Balkans," it was George W., visiting Albania.  Rachel recounted the story of how W's wrist-watch disappeared when he waded into a crowd of Albanian well-wishers.  With malicious glee, Maddow mentioned that in honor of his visit, the Albanians erected a tall statue of W with a "teeny, teeny, teeny, tiny little head."  How tiny must a melon be not to contain the difference between the Balkans and the Baltics?  View the video after the jump.

August 29, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

Of all the names that it would be embarrassing for an MSNBC network host to blank on, Rick Perry's would have to be at the top of the list.  How countless many times has the Lean Forward network had fun at Perry's expense over his "whoops" moment during a 2012 presidential debate?

But that unfortunate fate befell Jose Diaz-Balart today, hosting his own new MSNBC show.  The topic was the way in which Ted Cruz and Perry would potentially fight over Texas donor dollars if they were to both run for president.  Diaz-Balart got Cruz's name without problem, but when it came time for Perry's, Diaz-Balart stumbled multiple times before giving up and just generically referencing him as the "Governor of Texas."  Whoops indeed! View the video after the jump.

August 29, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT

Alexander the Great.  Stonewall Jackson. George S. Patton. To this list of some of history's greatest military strategists, a new name must be added: that of Barack Obama.  That is, if you agree with Joe Scarborough's take on President Obama's statement at yesterday's press conference that "we don't have a strategy yet" regarding possible attacks on ISIS in Syria.

According to Scarborough, speaking on today's Morning Joe, President Obama's "no strategy" statement was "straight out of The Art of War where when you were weak, you make your enemies think you were strong. When you were strong, you make your enemies think you were weak." It's what Scarborough would have done, he told viewers, if he were president. When Sam Stein said that he couldn't tell if Joe was joking, Scarborough assured him: "I'm serious. Dead serious . . . I am dead serious.  I am not joking."  View the video after the jump.

August 23, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT

Dial MSNBC for Murder . . . The Lean Forward network is the place to go if that's the way you want to hear the death of Michael Brown described.  On August 12th, NB'S Ken Shepherd noted that Chris Hayes didn't utter a peep of protest when a Missouri state senator called Brown's death an "execution-style" killing.  Three days later on MSNBC, Luke Russert called Brown's death "murder" before catching himself.  

It's happened again.  On today's Up With Steve Kornacki, guest L. Joy Williams pointedly called the Brown death "murder."  Did Kornacki challenge his guest's assertion in any way? Of course not.  At the end of her statement, Kornacki blandly posed a question to Williams about poll results.  Courageous journalism, Steve!  View the video after the jump.

August 19, 2014, 9:10 AM EDT

Like what?  Seriously, Mika Brzezinski, when you claim as you did on today's Morning Joe that Barack Obama has done "great things" on race, precisely what do you have in mind? H/t NB reader Ray R.

Was it choosing to make the racist Reverend Wright his personal pastor?  Appointing Eric Holder as Attorney General?  Accusing the Cambridge police of acting "stupidly" in the arrest of a black man?  Complaining about Americans who dislike him because they don't like the idea of a black president? Inviting Al Sharpton to the White House?  Really, Mika, we want to know.  View the video after the jump.

August 15, 2014, 3:58 PM EDT

Was it a simple mistake, or more deeply revealing of how Luke Russert regards events in Ferguson, MO?  With Chuck Todd on his way to Meet The Press, Russert hosted MSNBC's Daily Rundown today.

Speaking with NBC reporter Ron Allen, on the scene in Ferguson, Russert said: "the big news this morning is we expect to hear for the first time the name of the officer who was involved in the murder of Michael Brown -- or the killing of Michael Brown."  H/t reader Charles B. View the video after the jump.

August 15, 2014, 8:35 AM EDT

The look on Al Sharpton's face was that of a mischievous cat who had just swallowed the canary. It came right after the Right Reverend concluded his remarks about Rand Paul and Hillary on today's Morning Joe.

Sharpton's gist was that, by speaking out on race [in a Time op-ed] in ways unaccustomed for Republicans, Paul presented a challenge to Hillary to clarify her own civil rights record.  Sharpton suggested that "many of us in the civil rights community" question the Clintons on race, citing triangulation, the Sistah Souljah moment, and Hillary's position on the Omnibus Crime Bill.  View the video after the jump.

August 14, 2014, 8:17 AM EDT

Inevitability, my eye.  If Republicans can't defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016 [assuming she gets there], they should be brought up on charges of political malfeasance.

So lacking is Hillary in the most basic of personal political prerequisites that even Morning Joe called her "canned" and cringeworthy.  The panel was commenting on an excruciating clip of Clinton prior to her hug-it-out dinner with President Obama last night.  Watch it if you dare, but the panel's point was a larger one--that there is something about Clinton's public persona as to be seriously off-putting.  View the video after the jump.

August 13, 2014, 9:37 AM EDT

President Obama is more "forceful" and "stubborn" about playing golf than he is about pushing through his policy agenda.  That was Dana Milbank's take on today's Morning Joe.  

As Joe Scarborough described it, earlier this week the normally left-leaning Milbank enjoyed a "12-minute honeymoon" with conservatives after his Washington Post column called Obama's decision to go golfing while the world burned an example of "tone deafness" if not outright "stupid stuff."  Milbank doubled down on the notion today with his suggestion that the president cares more about making it to the first tee than enacting his policy positions.  Milbank seemed frustrated with Obama's fecklessness. But if the president's love of the links keeps him from pushing his policies, conservatives should be saying "play on, Mr. President!"  View the video after the jump.

August 10, 2014, 9:13 AM EDT

Fore left! Q. Is there any news professional who doesn't know that, out of respect for military families, President George W. Bush gave up golf not long after the Iraq war started?  A.  Yes.  Dan Harris, weekend Good Morning America co-host.

Harris' ignorance—or intentional disregard of the facts—was displayed during a segment today's GMA after Jonathan Karl reported that President Obama hit the links within an hour of landing at Martha's Vineyard and just hours after making a statement about US attacks on ISIS forces. After Karl said that Woodrow Wilson, in office during WWI, had played more golf than any other president, Harris claimed "George W. Bush played his fair share of golf during the Iraq war as well."  In fact, as noted above, W renounced golf in August, 2003, saying "I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf . . . I feel I owe it to the families to be as -- to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal."  But defending Obama was apparently more important for Harris than the facts.  View the video after the jump.

August 9, 2014, 10:26 AM EDT

Today's New York Times op-ed page includes a wide-ranging interview on foreign policy that Thomas Friedman conducted with President Obama.  Let's break down some of the low-lights.  Excerpts from interview in italics, with my comments following. And sure, when President Obama said "I don't worry about Israel's survival," he explained his insouciance in terms of Israel's military might.  But was he telling a deeper truth?

Obama made clear that he is only going to involve America more deeply in places like the Middle East to the extent that the different communities there agree to an inclusive politics of no victor/no vanquished.

LOL.  Yup, lions laying down with lambs any day now. So is Obama really saying that the US will not be involved in the Middle East ever again?  And how does he square his statement with the attack he ordered on ISIS?  Isn't that all about vanquishing them? More after the jump.