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:

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
September 15, 2015, 8:29 AM EDT

Like someone looking for the first robin of Spring, this NewsBuster has been on the prowl for the first media person to suggest that Hillary Clinton is going to have to quit the race. 

Joe Scarborough didn't go quite that far, but let's just say his shirtfront was taking on a distinctly robin-red hue on today's Morning Joe. After lambasting her "dismal" performance on the stump, Scarborough--quoting an unidentified panel member--said that Hillary is "getting into Rick Perry 2012 territory right now."

September 14, 2015, 9:13 AM EDT

Mika Brzezinski: fired up and ready to go . . . for Donald Trump? Not exactly. It isn't that Mika's jumping on the Make America Great Again express.  It's just that she wants "intellectual honesty" from her peers when it comes to admitting that Trump has gone from amusing sideshow who's sure to eventually crash to true frontrunner who is now likely to be the Republican nominiee.

You might not think of Brzezinski as being particularly data-driven, but on today's Morning Joe she repeatedly argued that there is no data supporting a Trump meltdown scenario. Going around the table with the question of whether it was "likely" or not that Trump would be the Republican nominee, she, Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist were in the "likely" column.  Susan Ferrechio of the Washington Examiner was at 50-50.  The only naysayer was Bloomberg's John Heilemann, who opined it was unlikely Trump would be the nominee.

September 11, 2015, 8:34 PM EDT

A few months ago, I took some flack in these quarters for suggesting that, his annoying liberalism aside, Chris Matthews is in his heart an American patriot.

That same patriotic proclivity displayed itself tonight. On the anniversary of 9-11, Matthews profusely praised his guest Rudy Giuliani for his leadership on that day.  And in a spontaneous aside, Matthews called RFK's assassin, the Palestinian Sirhan B. Sirhan, "the first terrorist."Can you imagine Rachel Maddow—or Barack Obama for that matter—doing the same?

September 11, 2015, 6:59 AM EDT

This could get entertaining . . . Mark Halperin says that, faced with plunging poll numbers, Hillary's only hope of victory is to "win ugly."

Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Halperin explained that by "win ugly" he means drawing invidious comparisons with her opponents, such as emphasizing that Bernie Sanders is a socialist and Trump a billionaire developer.  Should we prepare for the Hillary Red Scare? "I have here in my hand a list of 205 socialists in the Sanders campaign!"

September 10, 2015, 9:10 AM EDT

The occasional dust-ups between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on the Morning Joe set seem largely made-for-TV. But there appeared to be some authentic antagonism on today's show on the issue of the motivations of those who oppose the Iran deal.

Joe passionately condemned supporters of the deal who cynically suggest that opponents are controlled by the Jewish lobby. "Why don't you guys talk about the Elders of Zion?" suggested Scarborough sarcastically at one point.  When Mika tried to shut Scarborough down, claiming "we get the point," Scarborough shot back "you're the last person on the face of the earth who appears to get the point."  Later, Mika walked right into it, saying that in opposing the deal, Chuck Schumer "did what he had to do, and it's perfect for him." Scarborough pounced: "there you go. There's the cynicism I talked about."

September 9, 2015, 7:01 PM EDT

John Heilemann has saluted his next President and Commander-in-Chief: Hillary Clinton.

On today's With All Due Respect, commenting on Hillary's remarks on the Iran deal at the Brookings Institution and Donald Trump and Ted Cruz's comments at a rally, Heilemann declared "there is exactly one potential president in that group, and that president is Hillary Rodham Clinton . . . Everything she said sounded like Commander-in-Chief. The other two sounded like showboating clowns."

September 9, 2015, 8:09 AM EDT

My mother had a saying about heeding warnings from others: "if one person tells you you're drunk, ignore him.  If two people tell you you're drunk, lie down."  So what should Hillary Clinton do when the entire Morning Joe panel tells her that her supposed apology on ABC last night was a total bust?

From Joe Scarborough saying it looked like a "hostage video," to John Heilemann saying her apology proved that everything she had said about no one caring about the issue was a "lie," to Mika Brzezinski speaking of the "freakish" control exercised by the Clinton camp, to Willie Geist flatly contradicting Hillary's assertion that her actions were "allowed," the panning of Hillary's performance was unanimous.  

September 8, 2015, 8:12 PM EDT

Maybe Biden can do one of those DirectTV ads: "Hi, I'm Joe Biden.  And I'm Creepy Joe Biden" . . . 

On this evening's Hardball, Cook Report editor Amy Walter revealed that during a South Carolina event, Joe Biden kissed her mother, who had never before met him, on the lips. Walter said that her mother's reaction was "okay well, there we go." Chris Matthews flew to Biden's defense: "that's a very Philly thing [Biden's not from Philly]. Nothing wrong with it. Just very direct and very loving." Need we say that if a Republican candidate had smooched an unsuspecting woman on the lips, the calls for his immediate withdrawal from the race would be echoing through the MSM halls?  Bob Packwood, anyone?

September 8, 2015, 8:34 AM EDT

In her "heart?"  Some cynical lawyerly types might say that presupposes a fact not in evidence . . . 

Is Harold Ford, Jr. auditioning for an appointment in a hoped-for Hillary administration?  On Morning Joe of late, he's trying out a variety of dubious defenses.  Last week, his line was that although Americans might see her as a "liar" and "dishonest," nobody thinks she's "unpatriotic."  Today, he claimed that "in her heart" Hillary didn't intend to violate the law.

September 5, 2015, 11:13 AM EDT

In America, the rightful role of politics and politicians is to defend the Constitution.  And the essence of that Constitution is to limit the powers of government while protecting the unalienable rights of the people as described in the Declaration of Independence.

But according to a prominent Catholic sister, Pope Francis has a very different view, one which she obviously shares.  Appearing on MSNBC's Up With Steve Kornacki today, Sister Simone Campbell said that the Pope was "very clear" in his encyclical. Rather than controlling government, he believes the role of politics is to "control the economy."

September 2, 2015, 10:29 AM EDT

How bad is it getting for Hillary when the best her defenders can come up with is Harold Ford Jr.'s formulation: okay, so the words most associated with her are "liar," "dishonest" and "untrustworthy" but, hey!—she's not "unpatriotic."

On today's Morning Joe, after Ford resorted on Hillary's behalf to the last refuge of scoundrels, Joe Scarborough hit him with a killer question: does Ford think David Petraeus—who was convicted of a crime for improperly passing classified material--is a patriot?  Ford had to acknowledge that he is, but when Harold tried to distinguish Hillary's actions from Petraeus', Scarborough swept in to challenge him to a Romneyesque $10,000 bet: "who do you think passed more classified material along, David Petraeus or Hillary?" 

September 1, 2015, 9:35 PM EDT

The cavalcade of liberal contempt for conservatives continued on Chris Hayes' MSNBC show on Tuesday night, as Esquire's Charlie Pierce, formerly with the Boston Globe, described the Republican Iowa caucuses as being controlled by "a political party that's gone insane. The Iowa caucuses are a freakish mechanism that have been controlled since about 1988, by a freakish minority of a freakish Republican party."

August 31, 2015, 6:57 PM EDT

When it comes to conservatives, liberal media types are lately really letting their snobbery show. On Monday, it was Mike Barnicle's turn to display his disdain. Guest-hosting Bloomberg's With All Due Respect, Barnicle, a regular on MSNBC's Morning Joe, declared: "I would want to live as far away as possible" from the 53 percent of Iowa Republican voters who favor anti-establishment candidates Trump, Carson, Fiorina and Cruz.

August 31, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT

You wish he had named names . . . On today's Morning JoeJoe Scarborough flatly stated "I do blame it on cable news" for "people wearing uniforms being a lot less safe today than they were before Ferguson."

So just which cable networks did Scarborough have in mind? Until last week [when he was relegated to the Sunday morning desert], Joe's own MSNBC was the Al Sharpton network. So surely Scarborough was pointing the finger at least partially at MSNBC itself.  But as he continued, Scarborough also identified other unnamed cable networks that he accused of "glorifying" Vester Flanagan and "promoting the next Roanoke-style shooting" by displaying his Twitter feed and other such info, which is what killers like Flanagan seek. 

August 30, 2015, 9:34 AM EDT

Looks like Up With Steve Kornacki is becoming the go-to place for liberals to let their radical cats out of the bag . . . Yesterday, as we reported here, Josh Barro of the New York Times said that the only way to impact violent crime is to undertake a "massive" gun grab. Today, it was the turn of Salon's Joan Walsh to admit that she doesn't know "any liberals upset--outraged" by illegal immigration.

As we said of Barro, kudos to Walsh for her candor.  And really, why would liberals be upset by millions of illegal, low-skilled, immigrants flooding into the country?  It's not as if America has a culture worth preserving, after all.  And as we know, another term for illegal immigrants is "future Democratic voters."

August 29, 2015, 9:27 AM EDT

Give Josh Barro credit for candor. When it comes to guns, the New York Times correspondent makes no bones about the kind of draconian, Second Amendment-defying approach he thinks is necessary.  

Forget about expanded background checks or other such measures. The only way to have a "big impact on violent crime," according to Barro, is to emulate Australia and "really take away massive amounts of guns that people have, reduce the rate of gun ownership substantially." 

August 28, 2015, 7:02 PM EDT

Care to see the sneering face of supercilious liberal condescension?  Check out the video clip of John Fugelsang, a Sirius host who appeared on MSNBC this afternoon. He laid out a loony conspiracy theory according to which Fox News wanted to "give" the GOP nomination to Jeb, so that he in turn could lose to Hillary, and Fox could be the "hate Hillary network" for the next four years.

August 28, 2015, 9:49 AM EDT

So who's Hillary's enforcer? Last week we asked "who got to Donny Deutsch?" when he suddenly became supportive of Hillary whereas just the week before he had been very critical of her.

The same thing has happened with Ed Rendell.  Just yesterday, the former DNC Chairman and Pennsylvania governor was quoted in the New York Times saying Hillary has handled the email scandal "poorly, maybe atrociously, certainly horribly." But on today's Morning Joe, Ed was suddenly singing a different tune, claiming Hillary is doing everything right and plaintively suggesting that there is no problem. That led Mark Halperin to observe "I'm not saying he woke up with a horse head in bed with him," but "he was contacted . . . by what we like to call Clinton associates."  

August 27, 2015, 8:16 AM EDT

The morning after Al Sharpton was exiled to the Sunday morning desert from his evening show, and not long after Ed Schultz and Alex Wagner were relieved of their hosting duties, Joe Scarborough has profusely thanked NBC News honcho Andrew Lack for making those changes.

On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough was discussing stunning poll results in which the first word that came to voters' minds about Hillary was "liar."  Asked what was the worst thing said about him in such polling, Scarborough answered "he works for MSNBC." But Joe then added, his hands steepled in a gesture of gratitude: "not any more though, cause things have changed. Thank you, Andy. Thank you very much." 

August 26, 2015, 10:07 PM EDT

When it comes to fake news stories, if anyone's an expert it's Dan Rather . . . The disgraced former CBS News anchor has a new twist on the vast right-wing conspiracy. Instead of plotting against poor innocents like Bill and Hillary, those conspiratorial conservatives are now creating phony feuds among themselves! 

On Rachel Maddow's show tonight, Rather declared himself "suspicious" about the battle between Donald Trump and Fox News, suggesting that Trump and Roger Ailes might have "gotten together and planned out" the feud for their mutual benefit.