No NBAF in Kansas

Real Biosecurity for the Heartland

Is Tom Thornton an expert?

Posted by Dale on August 21, 2008

In recent media reports, both in the Manhattan Mercury and on KTKA (and elsewhere), Tom Thornton has been given the opportunity to rebut statements made by members of No NBAF in Kansas. I decided to peek behind the curtain to see who Mr. Thornton is and how qualified he is to make such statements.

As I expected, Mr. Thornton is neither an expert nor is he qualified to utter unsubstantiated claims such as these:

It’s actually terrorists looking to develop the very pathogens that the NBAF is trying to defeat. This is actually a justification of the NBAF. We need counter measures, we need vaccines.

The result has been overwhelming public and private support from scientists, elected officials, farmers, ranchers and many others. Kansas wants to protect the American food supply.

How can someone who is neither a scientist nor privy to intelligence data know these things? He can’t, of course, he’s just parroting things others say in a slick and disingenuous fashion. He’s also hoping that if you state such things often enough, they become truth. Well, they don’t.

Mr. Thornton is a businessman who currently spends his days heading a lobbyist organization. Lobbyists don’t have a very good reputation these days, for good reason. They are about putting government money in the hands of those who least need it. Before his current work, he was also engaged in mergers and acquisitions and venture capitalism (read his bio here). Oh, he also had a stint on the staff of the now discredited Dennis Hastert, where he surely learned a thing or two about the private/public money nexus, since Mr. Hastert is a true expert in that area.

What annoys me is that his word is taken at face value by the press, when in fact he’s really just spouting off just as people who are against NBAF sometimes do. He doesn’t know what terrorists are doing, how safe these facilities are, nor what Kansans want any more than you or I do. He’s living proof that you don’t have to right or particularly bright to be in the spotlight; all it takes is a fistful of dollars. I don’t want people like this making decisions about my community.

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