Lives in Granbury, Texas.

mark.finkelstein@gmail.com 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Parrots, dogs, small planes, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
November 1, 2015, 11:12 AM EST

I took it for granted that a leftist like Bernie Sanders would be opposed to the death penalty. Still, I was truly shocked to see Sanders—not in some throwaway comment on the campaign trail but in prepared remarks on the Senate floor—flatly call the death penalty "murder." On his MSNBC show this morning, Al Sharpton played the clip to illustrate how Sanders is working to differentiate his policy positions from those of Hillary Clinton, who says she supports the death penalty in "rare" cases.

Question: how can we begin to explain the moral compass of liberals like Sanders who call imposing the death penalty on adults duly convicted of heinous crimes "murder," but refer to the killing of innocent, unborn babies as "choice" or other grotesque euphemisms like "women's health?"

October 31, 2015, 9:13 AM EDT

Politico Magazine runs a long article by Alex Thompson today with the provocative headline: "Could America Elect a Mentally Ill President? Yes. In fact, we probably already did." The story discusses the possible mental issues, and documented consumption of drugs used to treat mental illness, of numerous politicians, including several presidents, among them JFK, LBJ and Nixon.

But here's the—excuse the expression—crazy thing. To illustrate the story, Politico features a large photo of Barry Goldwater. He is shown holding a finger to his lips, as if perhaps to suggest he wants to keep a secret. But of all the many politicians discussed in the story, Goldwater is one about whom no serious suggestion of mental illness or the use of drugs used to treat mental illness is made. 

October 30, 2015, 8:27 AM EDT

When this NewsBuster began preparing today's item, the focus was going to be on Joe Scarborough's statement on today's Morning Joe that "90% of the people in our business vote for Democrats and Democratic primaries." Not that it was something we didn't already know [though query whether even 10% of MSMers are Republicans], but refreshing to hear it so starkly stated.

But preparing the video clip, something more stunning emerged. Scarborough actually suggested that the problem of biased debate moderators is something new: "this is not something we've had a problem with in the past." Say what? Do the names George Stephanopoulos and Candy Crowley ring a bell, just to cite two examples of outrageous moderator bias from the last presidential cycle? 

October 29, 2015, 8:29 AM EDT

Tuning into Morning Joe today, the question on this NewsBusters' mind was whether—given that MNSBC and CNBC are corporate cousins—Joe Scarborough would have the guts to go after John Harwood. He did. 

In at least three segments this morning, Scarborough criticized Harwood for what he called his "embarrassing" performance as moderator of the GOP debate last night. Scarborough's repeated criticism on Harwood's blatant anti-GOP bias led Joe at one point to ruefully observe "I'm sure I'll get in trouble for saying this."

October 28, 2015, 8:32 AM EDT

Whatever Nicolle Wallace had for breakfast this morning, Jeb should down a double order . . . On today's Morning Joe, former Bush communications chief Wallace slammed a Politico story in which former McCain staffers rejected parallels between Jeb's campaign and that of McCain, who came back from the political wilderness to win the nomination in 2008.

Calling the story a "cheap shot," "low blow" and "irrelevant clackery of the clacking class," Wallace repeatedly pointed out that the sources for the story were McCain staffers now working for other candidates in the current GOP race.  Such folks would obviously have a vested interest in scotching the notion of a Jeb comeback.  

October 27, 2015, 7:51 PM EDT

David Corn claims that there are "serious issues" about Ben Carson's Seventh Day Adventism faith. Great point, David. After all, for twenty years, Carson sat in the pews of a preacher who spewed "God damn America" hatred, a pastor that Carson chose to officiate his marriage and baptize his children.

Oh, wait: that wasn't Carson. It was Barack Obama, who chose Jeremiah "Chickens Coming Home to Roost" Wright as his personal pastor and faith guide. Never mind. On this evening's Hardball, Corn--an MSNBC analyst and head of the DC office of Mother Jones--claimed that Carson's religion needs to be investigated because it professes an end time. Guess what, David? All the Abrahamic religions do: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It's not a question of if, only when. So take your religious bigotry elsewhere, Corn.

October 27, 2015, 7:21 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough had to prod her into it, but once she got going, Mika Brzezinski unleashed a blistering tirade  against Hillary on today's Morning Joe for accusing Bernie Sanders of sexism.

Hillary has ginned up great feminist umbrage at Sanders' statement at the debate that people need to stop "shouting" about gun violence and do something about it.  A clip was played of Hillary at two stump events saying that when women talk some people think they're shouting.  In an extended riff, Mika repeatedly called Hillary's shtick "pathetic," adding that she was "cringing" at the "stupidity" of it. Mika said "I'm going to get killed" for her criticism of Hillary.  Wonder who's going to bring the hammer down on Mika?

October 26, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT

Can you imagine if in 2007 some conservative had dared call Barack Obama the "Little Mister" of anything?  The cries of racism would be ringing to this day.

But on his MSNBC show this evening, Chris Matthews didn't hesitate to denigrate Marco Rubio as "the little Mister Firecracker of the bombs-away set."  For good measure, Matthews claimed that "Cruz hates as well as any Republican in modern history."

October 26, 2015, 7:21 PM EDT

God forbid  it should be said that Bernie Sanders throws a "Christmas" party! 

Sanders wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, was interviewed on today's With All Due Respect. When Mark Halperin asked the affable Mrs. Sanders to share a side of her husband that people might not know, she twice mentioned that Bernie organizes an annual "Christmas" party. And twice she promptly corrected herself, calling it a "holiday" party. 

October 25, 2015, 9:04 AM EDT

Talk about an inconvenient truth . . . Don't know if we've ever witnessed such a blatant suppression of facts--even on MSNBC.

Republican strategist Jessica Proud was a guest this morning on Al Sharpton's MSNBC show, which has been turfed out of its weekday slot and relegated to the early Sunday-morning wilderness. When discussion turned to the Benghazi hearing, Proud pointed out that Hillary, Susan Rice and President Obama lied about the cause of the attack. But before Proud could make her case—based on emails Hillary sent acknowledging that the internet video was not the cause—Sharpton shut her down, saying "let's go to other news of the week" and opening a discussion of Joe Biden's decision not to run.  

October 23, 2015, 10:06 AM EDT

Say, Tom, maybe you could lead a movement to retroactively impeach George W. Bush . . . On today's Morning Joe, Tom Brokaw, downplayed the significance of Benghazi, suggesting instead that what we really needed was "a big congressional investigation about the decision to go to war in the first place in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist."

Brokaw also underlined that more lives were lost in terrorist attacks on the US Marine barracks in Lebanon, the USS Cole and Khobar Towers than in Benghazi.  Brokaw made a point to mention that the attack on the Marine barracks happened during Ronald Reagan's presidency, but failed to disclose that the USS Cole and Khobar Towers attacks happened during the presidency of Hillary Clinton's husband.  Simple slip by Brokaw, no doubt.

October 23, 2015, 8:40 AM EDT

Talk about politics making strange bedfellows . . . Joe Scarborough has said that when he goes back to Washington, DC, his "best friends" are "liberal Democrats."  The one person Scarborough singled out to illustrate this was Maxine Waters, mentioning that he hugs her on the House floor.

Scarborough's statement came during a pre-recorded New Hampshire town hall with John Kasich that aired on today's Morning Joe.  I wish Scarborough had explained why his best friends are liberal Democrats rather than any of the 247 Republicans in the House. Maxine Waters, really? The woman who called George W. a "liar" and Dick Cheney a "liar" and "thief?" Who refused to call the Rodney King riots by that name, labelling them a "rebellion" instead? 

October 22, 2015, 8:24 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were among the first in the media, going back months, to take Donald Trump seriously. In contrast, Bill Kristol had repeatedly declared that we had reached "peak Trump," only to find The Donald confoundingly continuing to climb in the polls.  

Things boiled over on today's Morning Joe.  Despite a fresh poll showing Trump with an astounding 48% of GOP voters in Massachusetts, Kristol blithely declared that Trump "is not going to be the nominee." That elicited sarcastic laughter from Scarborough, who shot back "we can show you clip after clip after clip after clip of your incorrect predictions about Donald Trump and his imminent collapse." Later, Kristol seized on a new poll from Iowa showing Ben Carson having overtaken Trump. Claiming that "you guys have been overestimating Trump and underestimating Carson," Kristol said he was "just trying to be helpful."  An exasperated Scarborough exploded: "you're out of your mind. You're not trying to be helpful.  You're trying to cover your a--.  It won't work with us."

October 21, 2015, 7:47 AM EDT

It might be apocryphal, but the famous quote attributed to Pauline Kael, the late film critic of the New York Times, is along the lines of "how could Nixon have won? Nobody I know voted for him."

Mika Brzezinski had her Pauline Kael moment on today's Morning Joe.  Mika declared herself "really surprised" by poll numbers showing there are more Americans dissatisfied with Hillary Clinton's response to Benghazi than there are people who think the congressional investigation into Benghazi is too partisan. Said Mika: "it's sort of like a disconnect I guess that I have with the people I talk to and the rest of the country."

October 20, 2015, 8:53 AM EDT

This could be the worst whitewashing since Tom Sawyer suckered people into helping him with that fence... On today's Morning Joe, Joe Klein cleared Hillary of responsibility for American deaths in Benghazi, and blamed the CIA.  

According to Klein, "this really was a CIA station there, not so much a consulate, and those guys should be able to protect themselves in most circumstances." Klein doesn't think Hillary should even be called to testify: "this is something that does not rise to the level of the Secretary of State." He suggested instead that David Petraeus be hauled before the committee.

October 20, 2015, 7:55 AM EDT

Basta: enough already! It's not that John Heilemann thinks Joe Biden is a liar, it's just that he's not convinced that Biden knows his own mind yet.  And so it was that on today's Morning Joe, Heilemann declared "if he called me this morning and said I'm going to get in today at noon, I wouldn't believe him because I think there's a chance that by noon he'd change his mind."

Heilemann used two words with rhyming Middle English endings to describe Biden's charged emotional state: fraught and wrought.

October 19, 2015, 8:47 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough says there's an effort underway to delegitimize the FBI investigation of Hillary's email. Did Mark Halperin just abet that effort by alleging that FBI agents conducting the investigation are driven in part by personal animus toward the Clintons?

Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Halperin said that "of all the entities in the United States that represent a threat to Hillary Clinton being the next President of the United States, those FBI agents are probably in the first tier, in part because they're following the evidence wherever it leads, but in part because—let's be honest—a lot of FBI agents don't like the Clintons. View the video, and be sure to watch to the end to catch Hillary cackling in response to Jake Tapper's questions about the email.

October 18, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT

After tape rolled of Black Lives Matter demonstrators repeatedly chanting "pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon," you might have thought a BLM leader would either apologize, or at least seek to miminize the incident as the excesses of an irresponsible and unrepresenative few.

But no.  On today's Melissa Harris-Perry show, after just such video was played, BLM leader Monica Dennis issued not one word of apology. To the contrary, Dennis said "there is no need to apologize" for what the BLM movement is "putting forth," and touted the group's intention "to resist" the police. The segment began with a clip of Ted Cruz denouncing the "rabid rhetoric" of groups like BLM.  Harris-Perry declared that "when it comes to a rabid movement I'm going to go with the GOP primary over Black Lives Matter."

October 17, 2015, 12:12 PM EDT

The conventional wisdom is that Joe Biden has been staying on the sidelines, waiting to see how bad the email scandal gets for Hillary. But while that might be true, consider that Biden need not just be a passive player in the game. There is a plausible theory by which Biden's entry into the race by its very fact would increase the odds of Hillary encountering legal travails.

One reason that President Obama might be holding off on having his DoJ go after Hillary is that he doesn't want to destroy the candidacy of the only plausible Dem candidate in the race.  As brilliant and charismatic as is Lincoln Chaffee, still he might just not do.

October 16, 2015, 8:37 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough swung a double-edged sword on today's Morning Joe, swiping simultaneously at his MSNBC colleague Chris Matthews and at radio host and debate panelist Hugh Hewitt. The subject was Marco Rubio, with Hewitt calling him "the most dynamic speaker the Republican party has seen ever, since Lincoln."  "Since Lincoln," asked Scarborough incredulously—"do you have a tingle going up your leg?"

Scarborough said that rather than recalling Lincoln, "when I see Marco speaking, I'm seeing a guy that's running for student government."  Interesting aside: Hewitt predicts that Republicans will have an open convention, with no candidate having wrapped up the nomination before the delegates get to Cleveland in July.