Lives in Granbury, Texas.

mark.finkelstein@gmail.com 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Parrots, dogs, small planes, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
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.

November 9, 2015, 9:50 AM EST

On today's Morning Joe, an incensed Joe Scarborough told Hugh Hewitt he was "full of it," and that "you owe me an apology." 

Scarborough was steamed that Hewitt seemed to suggest that Joe was part of the "Manhattan-DC Beltway elite" that refused to cover Hillary's scandals. Scarborough said "I put my neck on the line every day here," covering Hillary and criticizing media bias. 

November 9, 2015, 7:54 AM EST

Joe Scarborough and Nicolle Wallace went on an animated tag-team attack against Ben Carson on today's Morning Joe, accusing him of "one lie after another" and "bald-faced lies," respectively. And Scarborough emphatically denied that there is any bias behind the media's inquiries into Carson's biography.

Scarborough, Wallace and Mika Brzezinski also criticized panelist Mark Halperin for not buying into the Carson-is-lying line, with Mika sarcastically implying that Halperin had backed off Carson in anticipation of an interview with him. Denying that the current Carson kerfuffle reflects media bias. Joe cast himself as an equal-opportunity truth teller, pointing out that he had recently criticized people [hello, John Harwood] for the biased CNBC debate.

November 8, 2015, 8:44 AM EST

Can anyone honestly claim that Larry David seemed serious when he yelled "you're a racist" at Donald Trump on last night's SNL? Trick question: I said "honestly." Enter Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever who in his review of Trump's SNL appearance last night [subtly headlined "Trump’s sorry night on ‘SNL’: An overhyped bummer for us all'], actually claimed that that David's "racist" cry seemed "genuine enough." But if ever an actor went out of his way to signal that he was simply spoofing, it was David.

Have a look at the clip, and you'll see that--far from expressing genuine outrage--David at one point struggled to keep a straight face. And when Trump asked him what he was doing, David sheepishly shrugged his shoulders and threw out his arms in apologetic explanation, saying he "had to do it" because they promised him $5,000. "Genuine enough?" How about "obviously acting?"

November 6, 2015, 7:09 AM EST

Joe Scarborough's critique of Ben Carson goes way beyond policy differences. Scarborough questions whether Carson has the "character" to be president.

On today's Morning JoeScarborough twice suggested Carson was "quirky" and said his theory on the pyramids is "crazy." Scarborough suggestively asked whether Carson "has the temperament, whether he has the character to be President of the United States?"

November 5, 2015, 7:21 AM EST

It was like a mother trying to lead her naughty son through an apology . . . 

Last week, Joe Scarborough predicted he would "get in trouble" for calling John Harwood's biased performance as debate moderator "embarrassing." On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski tried, in what seemed perhaps to be a pre-arranged mea culpa, to force Joe to say "I really respect everyone I work with." Joe didn't play along with the script but did ultimately mutter "of course I do" before quickly moving on.

November 4, 2015, 9:27 PM EST

Would somebody please explain the First Amendment to Quentin Tarantino? The film director apparently thinks that freedom of speech is a one-way street: he gets to call cops "murderers," but they don't get to defend themselves.

Appearing on MSNBC show this evening, asked by Chris Hayes if he was surprised by the "vitriol" of police reaction to his speech at a recent rally in New York at which he called police "murderers," Quentin whined: "I was under the impression I was an American and that I had First amendment rights." Poor baby. Yeah, you do. So do the cops. 

November 4, 2015, 6:41 PM EST

Can you imagine the liberal outrage if a Republican called a prominent African-American Dem candidate "Chauncey Gardiner," the simple soul from the Peter Sellers film Being There? The cries of racism might well cost such a hapless Republican his job. 

But don't expect James Carville to pay any price. On today's With All Due RespectCarville said that a frustrated Bush "can't believe that Chauncey Gardiner [laughs] and Trump and all these people are running ahead of him." Given that Carson and Trump are the two front-runners, and that Carson, while brilliant, is soft-spoken, there would seem little doubt that Carville meant his Chauncey crack for Carson.

November 3, 2015, 9:50 AM EST

Who said it? "Get rid of all this corporatism, this corporate welfare . . . I would love to have the government stop this corporate welfare--that's what I want . . . This is a huge racket that's wrecking the country." 

Did you guess Bernie Sanders? Probably not because you read the headline. Yet no one could be blamed for thinking it was Sanders. But indeed, it was Charles Koch, who said it in an interview with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that aired on today's Morning Joe. Charles Koch--one of the infamous Koch brothers that the MSM and Dems love to demonize as the epitome of greedy capitalists, the pair that Harry Reid accused of "dishonesty" and being "un-American." 

November 2, 2015, 8:24 AM EST

In the wake of the CNBC debate debacle, Joe Scarborough went on an epic rant on liberal media bias on today's Morning Joe. He summed things up this way, in challenging the panel: "you can't do it and nobody here can do it: name the single Republican that has hosted a Sunday show, that has been an anchor of a news network for the big three networks over the past 50 years: you can not do it." 

Mark Halperin largely agreed, saying "there's huge liberal media bias." But Mike Barnicle actually claimed that having fair moderators would be a bad thing for Republicans because they would lose their ability to run against the media.