Sunday, September 07, 2014

President Obama interviewed by Chuck Todd on NBC Meet the Press, offers alarming speculation on Ebola, softer on ISIS and immigration

Chuck Todd opened his reign on Meet the Press with an interview of President Obama, text and video here
The president talked about three main areas.  One of these was the coalition to challenge ISIS (or ISIL). The president said that he believes ISIS will eventually become a major security problem for the US homeland over time, but probably this will not happen very quickly. But afterward several panelists disagreed with Obama, saying that the ISIS threat could become very urgent. 
The president said that he would address the nation on ISIS (or ISIL) later this week. He never mentioned Syria or Ar-Raqqa explicitly.
Then the president took up the Ebola epidemic in west Africa and said something startling. He said that the virus might in time mutate into a more contagious or even airborne strain which could threaten every western country, as if it were like the flu.  This comment could have been based on the history of the Ebola Reston monkey virus in 1989, although that virus is not infectious to humans (link), despite the speculation in Robert Preston's book "The Hot Zone".  In the mid 1980s, the religious right, especially in Texas, tried to claim that HIV would someday mutate into a more contagious form, as an argument against male  homosexuality (and as an argument against an enhanced anti-sodomy law introduced in 1983 in the Texas legislature).  This has never happened, but such speculative arguments can become dangerous.  I was living in Dallas at the time.
The president is holding off on immigration reform until after the mid-term elections. 

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