Lives in Granbury, Texas.

mark.finkelstein@gmail.com 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Parrots, dogs, small planes, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
November 24, 2015, 8:41 AM EST

In a bid to pump up his anemic African-American support, Bernie Sanders very publicly chowed down yesterday with rapper Killer Mike, who at a subsequent rally endorsed Sanders. Reporting on the meeting of the unlikely duo, the Washington Post wrote that among other things they discussed "their mutual appreciation for the work of the philosopher Noam Chomsky."

So Bernie digs Noam Chomsky. You remember Noam: condemned the killing of Bin Laden and said that George W.'s crimes "vastly exceed bin Laden's;" self-described anarchist-socialist; member of Marxist Industrial Workers of the World; agnostic on the Holocaust, doesn't think Holocaust denial is anti-Semitic; banned from visiting Israel because of anti-Israel positions; defender of the genocidal Khmer Rouge. So what has been the MSM's reaction to Sanders fondness for Chomsky? Crickets, of course. Try to imagine the MSM reaction if a leading GOP presidential candidate expressed appreciation for a similarly-controversial figure on the far right.

November 23, 2015, 9:27 AM EST

Death of a Salesman's Willy Loman was a guy "out there in the blue riding on a smile and a shoeshine." President Obama sees ISIS as Willy's bad mirror image, dismissing the terror group as guys with "conventional weapons and good social media."

On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough blasted Obama's dangerous insouciance, calling it "staggering to our allies. It is staggering to people like Frank Bruni, a liberal columnist. It is staggering to Diane Feinstein, liberal Democrats. It is staggering to the world. The president's in a bubble by himself, saying that these are just bad guys with guns and good social media.

November 21, 2015, 12:17 PM EST

I turned on MSNBC this morning in the admittedly masochistic hope of seeing Melissa Harris-Perry, only to find Harry Smith--of all people--hosting continuing coverage of the Paris attacks and related issues.

After running clips of Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee questioning the admittance into the US of Syrian refugees, Smith immediately displayed on screen and read the passage of Matthew 25 that begins "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat . . . I was a stranger and you invited me in," etc.  Smith then turned to the Rev. Jacqui Lewis, pastor of the hyper-liberal Middle Collegiate Church in NYC's East Village, and asked this hyper-leading question: "is this as important a piece of the New Testament as exists?" Surprise! Lewis agreed that it "absolutely" is.

November 20, 2015, 7:22 AM EST

Joe Scarborough opened today's Morning Joe with coverage of the unfolding terror attack in Mali, and promptly turned to Ayman Mohyeldin for a report.

The very first words out of Mohyeldin's mouth were "it's important to emphasize we still don't know the identity of these gunmen who have taken the hotel hostage." Great point, Ayman. I mean, sure, they were yelling Allah Akhbar, and released hostages who could recite passages from the Koran. But can anyone prove they're not a bunch of Yale frat boys on early Spring Break wearing hideously inappropriate Halloween costumes? Or perhaps some insufficiently sensitive Mizzou administrators invading the safe space of the hotel guests? 

November 18, 2015, 9:35 PM EST

I took some flak awhile back for saying that--his liberalism notwithstanding--Chris Matthews had a patriotic streak.

More evidence for that notion on this evening's Hardball, as Matthews twice derided President Obama's response to ISIS as "dainty," and kvetched that "I don't see us doing anything."

 

November 18, 2015, 9:29 AM EST

There's been a lot of arrant nonsense spoken since the Paris attacks, but Margaret Carlson's might just take the cake . . . 

On today's Morning JoeBloomberg columnist Carlson suggested that because the US is better than Europe at assimilation, potential terrorists sneaking into our country might not carry out their plots. Said Carlson: "maybe they become Americanized, maybe the anger goes away. Maybe what they snuck in to do they're not going to do because we do have an acceptance of these people." Great point, Margaret.  If only we'd had a little longer to hug it out with the 9/11 terrorists.

November 18, 2015, 7:09 AM EST

Suggestion for John Kerry: if traveling makes you so tired that you say things undermining the war against radical Islamic terrorism, do us all a favor—stay home on Nantucket and conduct your diplomacy by Skype . . . 

On today's Morning Joe, here's how Mark Halperin explained Kerry's despicable statement about the "legitimacy" and "rationale" of the Charlie Hebdo attacks: "Secretary Kerry has a history when he's tired in particular after he hurtles around the world of speaking imprecisely." Was Kerry speaking "imprecisely"—or did he let the truth slip of precisely how he and President Obama really feel?

November 17, 2015, 7:26 PM EST

Mike Huckabee might be down in the polls, but he's still up to throwing a good political punch. 

On this evening's MTP Daily, Chuck Todd suggested, by way of advocating the admission of Syrian refugees, that the US is better than Europe at "assimilation." Retorted Huckabee, speaking of one of the Boston bombers, "he really assimilated, until he blew up the Boston Marathon with a pressure cooker." Boom!

November 17, 2015, 7:58 AM EST

If Mike Barnicle were around at the beginning of WWII, perhaps he would have written "we better not fight back. It might make Hitler mad."     

On today's Morning Joe, the cringing former Boston Globe columnist, second-guessing a united front against terrorism, worried "wouldn't . . . creating a NATO force just add fuel to the recruiting fever that ISIS employs within Europe?" Maybe Mike should start referring to ISIS as Borg. After all, he apparently believes that resistance is futile.

November 16, 2015, 8:49 PM EST

2015 is drawing to a close, so unless some dark horse comes out of absolutely nowhere, Chris Matthews is a mortal lock for the DisHonor award for the year's worst analogy. On this evening's Hardball, Matthews argued that we shouldn't blame Islam for ISIS terrorist attacks since, after all, FDR, despite despising Mussolini, "never declared war on the Catholics."

Just a little difference: Italian fascism had no ideological affinity with Catholicism. To the contrary, it was rooted in notions of the revival of the Roman Empire of the Caesars. In contrast, you can't spell ISIS without "Islamic." To say that we are at war with radical Islam is simply to acknowledge the manifest truth. For Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to deny it is dangerous.

November 16, 2015, 6:05 PM EST

Would John Heilemann have called Francois Hollande "shameless" and "un-French" if a few months back he had halted the immigration of Syrian immigrants into France, thus stopping two of the Paris terrorists—who reportedly posed as refugees—from entering the country?

The question arises because on today's With All Due Respect, Heilemann condemned as "shameless" and "un-American" the dozen or so governors, mainly Republicans, who have declared that their states won't accept Syrian refugees. 

November 16, 2015, 2:37 PM EST

Silence spoke powerfully today on Morning Joe. After a clip rolled of a listless President Obama speaking about the Paris attacks, Joe Scarborough asked Mika Brzezinski what amounted to a rhetorical question: "does he look like he is engaged and understands the level of threat?"

When after a few seconds Mika failed to reply, Scarborough tried rephrasing the question, but still elicited no response. Her silence was so telling, so excruciating, that Mike Barnicle--ever the good sycophant--broke in to slavishly assert "I think he looks fully engaged."

November 15, 2015, 10:56 AM EST

Last night at dinner a relative from NYC who described himself as a "bleeding heart liberal" opposed cutting off the immigration of Syrian refugees because in his view that would run counter to American traditions. He's a great guy, but that is a dangerous misinterpretation.  We have no obligation to commit collective suicide.

What's more troubling is that supposed experts on the subject are voicing similar views. On today's State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution actually surmised that the Paris killer who made it into Europe was probably the only terrorist among the hundreds of thousands of refugees. "There's perhaps one refugee that was part of this out of hundreds of thousands. That's kind of a collective punishment, if you say, well, we're going to try to stop all refugees from coming in because of one person."

November 13, 2015, 7:57 AM EST

"Wow . . . I'm absolutely surprised by that answer . . .  Are you sure? . . . Are we talking about the same person?" That was Mika Brzezinski's stunned response after her attempt to recruit retired General and former CIA Director Michael Hayden into her campaign against Ben Carson blew up in her face on today's Morning Joe

Referring to Carson, Mika asked Hayden "are you concerned that there's a front runner whose foreign policy sensibilities seem to lack, to say the least?" But instead of playing along with Mika's leading question, Hayden replied that, based on a long conversation he had had with Carson, all of his foreign policy instincts are "right." He said Carson asked "good questions" and is a "well-meaning, serious, bright man."

November 12, 2015, 9:26 AM EST

Hillary Clinton found the notion of Carly Fiorina being strangled a laughing matter. But on today's Morning Joe, Mark Halperin acknowledged that Fiorina is "exactly right" when she suggested that if a conservative candidate had laughed in similar circumstances, the liberal media would be all over it. "I don't think there's any ambiguity about that," added Halperin.  

No doubt. Can you imagine the media/Dem outcry if a Republican presidential candidate had laughed at a similar suggestion about Hillary? "We interrupt regular programming for Breaking News on the GOP War on Women: Laughing at Murder!"

November 12, 2015, 7:32 AM EST

Did Mika Brzezinski just suggest that Ben Carson has a screw loose? On today's Morning JoeMika Brzezinski said of Carson "I want to be very careful with my words, but he just doesn't sound completely connected with everything."

Judging from her halting cadence,  Mika clearly seemed to realize that she was treading on some very controversial mental-health ground. The lead-in to her "connected" comment was her observation "he tried to kill his mother for God's sake!  . . . we have been listening to this man talk in a flat monotone tone about taking a hammer to his mother's head."

November 11, 2015, 7:21 AM EST

Two days ago, as we reported here, Joe Scarborough and Nicolle Wallace excoriated Ben Carson, accusing him of telling "one lie after another" and "bald-faced lies."

Today, it was Mika Brezinski's turn to denounce the good doctor. On Morning JoeMika said "there's this slipperiness to him that nobody will just say. He's slippery. He doesn't tell the truth, and he doesn't make sense."

November 10, 2015, 8:18 PM EST

You'd think that back in April when, as Ken Shepherd noted, Chris Matthews talked about Blockbuster being about all that's left in Rust Belt towns, one of his assistants would have gently taken him aside and explained that Blockbuster shuttered its stores some time ago. But on this evening's Hardball, there was Chris committing the exact same gaffe. 

And in the very next segment, Matthews introduced MSNBC reporter Hallie Jackson, who is youthful and female, as . .  "Haley Barbour," who for all his great qualities is neither. But, hey, look at the bright side. The guest in the next segment was Republican lawyer Ben Ginsberg. At least Matthews didn't introduce him as . . . Ruth Bader Ginsburg!

November 10, 2015, 8:27 AM EST

News flash: Eugene Robinson has just been named Dean of the Alice In Wonderland School of Journalism, where "who, what, when" etc. is replaced by "who cares?", and when it comes to crimes against political correctness, verdict first, trial later.

On today's Morning Joe, WaPo columnist Robinson expressed surprising indifference to his unawareness of the causes that led Mizzou President Tim Wolfe to be driven from office. Asked by Joe Scarborough as to the reasons for the prez's departure, Robinson replied "I haven't been on campus; I don't know . . . I don't know what those specifics are." When Scarborough then asked "isn't it troubling that you don't know, a Pulitzer Prize winner" and "is this a complete failure of the national media to report?" Robinson flippantly suggested "the national media should always have done a better job in getting to the bottom of everything." 

November 9, 2015, 8:42 PM EST

Gag me with a vuvuzela . . . You say, Obama and Mandela. I say, Obama taking flirty selfies at Mandela's memorial service with the Danish PM, much to Michelle's displeasure. 

But not Chris Matthews. On this evening's Hardball, Matthews said that Obama's post-presidential goal is to be "the next Mandela." You've got to be [insert unprintable modifier] kidding me.