Just say NO to #GMO

Genetically engineered foods are in almost all processed food products in the United States.  A simple reading of the label will reveal one or more of the following ingredients in every one of them: corn or corn oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil (made from rapeseed oil, a GMO product), soy and/or soybean oil, and/or high fructose corn syrup.

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Genetically engineered corn and soy are used for most of the animal feed in the United States.  And GMO sweet corn is now appearing in stores.  There are no current federal labeling laws for GMO products, and two labeling measures in California and Washington have been defeated, in the wake of heavy spending of millions of dollars against the measures by Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Bayer, Coca Cola, Kellogg’s, and many others whose name you will see on products on your breakfast, lunch or dinner table.  A member of the board of directors of Mc Donalds and one from Sara Lee sit on the board of directors of Monsanto.

The classified report on biological warfare in the story is fictitious (at least none has been disclosed) but the government reports cited from scientists at the FDA, EPA and USDA reporting GMOs as unsafe and calling for toxicology reports and further testing are real, having been accessed through litigation using the Freedom of Information Act, and you can read them on the Internet.  Arpad Pusztai is a real scientist, who conducted the first experiments on lab rats, and whose work was severely discredited until the UK government found out the real truth; that it had rushed into early approval of GMO foods and its ministers had hired Pusztai to do the study in two weeks, after already having approved GMO foods for public consumption.

Since chemical companies invented genetically engineered seeds designed to withstand heavy sprayings of glyphosate, global use of Roundup and related weed killers has jumped to nearly 900 million pounds annually. That is due to the fact that, since the crops are engineered to be resistant to Roundup, it can be sprayed on the entire field, not just on the weeds, making it much easier for farmers to manage weed kills.  Glyphosate is a systemic chemical, meaning once sprayed, it travels up inside of the plants that people and animals eat and they consume the glyphosate as well as the nutrients in the plants. As more farm fields have converted to GMO crops, federal regulators at the EPA (and former employees of Monsanto) have quietly allowed an increase in the levels of glyphosate allowed in our food, something from which we should see tragic long term consequences.  According to a World Health Organization study released in 2015, Glyphosate is a probable carcinogen.

Monsanto originally registered the ingredient in its “Roundup,” glyphosate, for glyphosate’s use as an antimicrobial agent.  What that means is it can kill the “good bacteria” in your digestive system, that you need to have to digest properly, and cause problems such as “leaky gut,” where the protective lining of the gut is compromised, allowing for toxins and bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This causes the body to send off an immune response to attack the wayward bacteria, potentially sparking autoimmune diseases.

Moreover, glyphosate interferes with tryptophan, the precursor of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter associated with happiness and well-being. Low serotonin levels have been linked to suicide, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other ailments.  Not only does glyphosate hamper tryptophan production in your digestive system, it also lowers levels of it in plants, causing even more of a deficiency when you ingest the food that has been tainted with it.

Virtually all of the genetically engineered (GMO) Bt corn grown in the U.S. is treated with neonicotinoid pesticides.  A 2012 study found high levels of clothianidin in pneumatic planter exhaust. In the study, it was found that the Bt insecticide was present in the soil of unplanted fields nearby those planted with Bt corn and also on dandelions (a favorite of bees) growing near those fields.  Once in the soil, the pesticide remains for many years, and is absorbed by any new plant life.

The Bt toxin, which was the subject of Seth’s study in the story, essentially pokes “holes” in the cells of insects’ stomachs, killing them, and has been found to poke holes in human cells as well.  In one study, it was found in the blood of 93% of pregnant women tested, and in the blood of 80% of their unborn fetuses, which gets into the brains of the fetuses, due to the fact that there is no blood-brain barrier at that stage of development.

Peer reviewed studies are rare in the case of GMOs, as the only ones who have the desire or the budget to perform them are the same chemical companies which fund most of the scientific research.  However, the few independent studies that have been done all point to the danger of GMOs.

These studies have found the association of GMO foods and specific disease processes.  Multiple animal studies have shown significant immune dysregulation, including upregulation of cytokines associated with asthma, allergy, and inflammation.  Animal studies also show altered structure and function of the liver, including altered lipid and carbohydrate metabolism as well as cellular changes that could lead to accelerated aging.   Changes in the kidney, pancreas and spleen have also been documented in these studies.

A recent 2008 study links Bt corn with infertility, showing a significant decrease in offspring over time and significantly lower litter weight in mice fed Bt corn.  American pig farmers have also reported infertility and false pregnancies in their livestock after feeding them Bt corn.  The study also found that over 400 genes were found to be expressed differently in mice-fed Bt corn. These are genes known to control protein synthesis and modification, cell signaling, cholesterol synthesis, and insulin regulation. Other studies show intestinal damage in animals fed GMO foods, including proliferative cell growth and disruption of the intestinal immune system.

Because of this mounting data, it is biologically plausible for genetically modified foods to cause adverse health effects in humans.  In spite of this risk, the biotech industry claims that GMO foods are safe, and can feed the world through production of higher crop yields. However, a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists reviewed 12 academic studies and indicates otherwise: “The several thousand field trials over the last 20 years for genes aimed at increasing operational or intrinsic yield (of crops) indicate a significant undertaking. Yet none of these field trials have resulted in increased yield in commercialized major food/feed crops, with the exception of Bt corn.” Moreover, they found that the increase in yields was largely due to traditional breeding improvements.

Because GMO foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health, and are without any of their claimed benefits, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) believes that it is imperative to adopt the precautionary principle, which is one of the main regulatory tools of the European Union environmental and health policy, and serves as a foundation for several international agreements. The most commonly used definition of this policy is from the 1992 Rio Declaration that states: “In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”

The FDA does not test the safety of GMO crops. Instead, all GMO foods are assumed to be safe unless there is already evidence to the contrary. The FDA relies on self-reported data from the companies that manufacture the crops as to their safety.  Moreover, due to legal and copyright restrictions surrounding GMO patents, independent scientists must ask for the chemical companies’ permission before publishing research on their products. As a result, almost all of the long-term animal feeding studies that have ever been conducted on GMO feed have been carried out by the biotech companies themselves, with their own rules and using their own standards of reporting. What few independent studies have been conducted have shown a range of adverse health effects from reduced fertility to immune system dysfunction, liver failure, obesity and cancer.

The revolving door between big agriculture, the FDA, the USDA and the EPA is also true.  In a classic case of revolving door politics, the Obama administration’s Deputy Commissioner of Foods, Michael Taylor, refuses to make FDA testing of GMO food safety mandatory. Taylor worked for the FDA from 1976 to 1981, when he went into private practice at a law firm who represented Monsanto, only to return through the revolving door to the FDA in 1991.   In 1988 he published an article entitled “The De Minimis Interpretation of the Delany Clause: Legal and Policy Rationale ” in the Journal of the American College of Toxicology (now called the International Journal of Toxicology), which he had previously presented in December 1986 at a symposium on Topics in Risk Analysis, sponsored by International Life Sciences Institute Risk Science Institute, Society for Risk Analysis, and Brookings Institution.  The paper was delivered and published during the midst of a debate and litigation over federal agencies’ interpretation of the Delaney clause, a part of federal law written in 1958 that on its face, literally prohibits any chemical from being added, in any amount, to food that is processed, if that agent is carcinogenic.

As analytical instrumentation increased in power and more and more agents were found to be carcinogenic at very low levels, the agencies had developed a quantitative risk assessment approach to interpreting the Delaney Clause, which stated that if a carcinogen was present at levels less than 1 in 1,000,000 parts, the risk of that carcinogen was “de minimis” and it could be allowed on the market.  In the article, Taylor presented arguments in favor of this approach. Advocates in favor of organic food have criticized Taylor for taking this stance and have attributed the stance not to a good faith effort to reasonably regulate, but to an alleged desire to benefit Monsanto financially.

Between 1994 and 1996 Taylor went back through the revolving door to the USDA, where he acted as Administrator of the Food Safety & Inspection Service. During that term he implemented a science-based approach to raising safety standards for meat and poultry production over the protests from industry, which has been called by food safety advocates “a truly heroic accomplishment” (but that was the only one).  Between 1996 and 2000, after briefly returning to King & Spalding, he came back to Monsanto to become Vice President for Public Policy.  In 2009, Taylor once again returned to government through the revolving door as Senior Advisor to the FDA Commissioner, and was appointed by President Obama on January 13, 2010 to another newly created post at the FDA –  Deputy Commissioner of Foods.

Former EPA head, William Ruckelshaus, spent two years on Monsanto’s board of directors.  Linda J. Fisher spent a decade working as Assistant Administrator of the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention, before leaving to head up Monsanto’s lobbying team.  Margaret Miller spent her time at Monsanto, working on Monsanto’s GMO bovine growth hormone and wrote the report on it that was submitted to the FDA before taking a job as Deputy Director of the FDA, where she approved her own report.

In July 2013, the EPA, under the leadership of former Monsanto employees, increased the allowable levels of glyphosate in food, up to 100 ppm in animal feed and 40 ppm in oilseed crops, and from 0.2 ppm to 3 ppm for sweet potatoes, and 5 ppm in carrots (15 and 20 times the prior allowed rates).

The first version of GMO corn was attacked because it was found to be deadly to Monarch butterflies.  This, and the proliferation of the use of Roundup on farms, has reduced the population of the Monarch to the point of near extinction.  GMO corn has been banned in Poland, where it has been found to be a threat to bees.

Beta carotene producing rice is being pushed in the Philippines, where neighbors near a Bt cornfield have already reported allergy and respiration problems.  It is expected to be pushed in India as well.  And Indonesia is taking steps to approve GMO corn and soy.

Finally, the world is now suffering from what seven out of ten biologists believe is a sixth mass extinction.  The last mass extinction was 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs disappeared from the earth.  This mass extinction is being caused by man.  The use of non-renewable energy, pollution, deforestation, and the overuse of water and pesticides in agriculture are the primary culprits of what will be man’s demise from the destruction of his environment.  We will kill off everything that lives on the earth now, but nature will come back, this time without us.  But maybe that’s a good thing for the planet.

Described by critics as “one of our strongest thriller writers on the scene,” author Kenneth Eade, best known for his legal and political thrillers, practiced law for 30 years before publishing his first novel, “An Involuntary Spy.” Eade, an up and coming author in the legal thriller and courtroom drama genre, has been described by critics as “One of our strongest thriller writers on the scene and the fact that he draws his stories from the contemporary philosophical landscape is very much to his credit.” He is often compared to John Grisham, whom many regard as the master of the legal thriller.  For more information, and a free Kindle download, see his website at: www.kennetheade.com

 

Defamation on the Internet: What can be done about it?

The Internet has outgrown the common law of defamation, and new regulations to protect the Internet, free speech and the freedom to speak anonymously have been abused by cyber-bullies and cyber-stalkers, who have used this new medium to dispense their bullying in a greater distribution among more people.  In my legal thriller novel, “Killer.com,” I thought it may be interesting to examine the possibility of an Internet bully or cyber mob hiring a hit man anonymously through the Internet.  I thought that this would be a unique idea, but, upon delving into the macabre world of the Dark Net, I realized that it was not.  Most of the sites where I found for murder-for-hire were probably scams or were set up by law enforcement to catch would-be conspirators, but the concept is definitely not an original one.

Defamation

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”  We all know that line, and many of us have used it in retort to a vicious verbal attack.  But the truth is that words can hurt you, especially when they are broadcast online to thousands or even millions of people.  We’ve also all heard the old adage “Don’t believe everything you hear,” but the fact is that many people do believe everything they hear and, whether they do or not, have a tendency to repeat it; especially if it’s scandalous.

The advent of the Internet has had a profound impact on the manner in which ideas and information are exchanged in the 21st century.  It has leveled the publisher’s playing field, putting newspapers, magazines and bookstores out of business, and enabled any average person with access to a computer the potential to reach a broad audience on whatever subject that person may choose.

However, unlike a newspaper or magazine, authors of Internet “articles” are not restrained by ethical guidelines or legal principles.  While the notion of free speech may be an honorable one, the first amendment’s sanction is by no means absolute.  Just as the second amendment’s right to bear arms does not give a person the right to shoot somebody, the first amendment’s protection of free speech does not apply to all speech.  Defamatory speech is specifically not protected.

There are many examples of the power of the Internet in today’s cyber-world that have had a profound effect on the real world.  Middle Eastern governments have been toppled using the Internet as a weapon of social change.  Whistleblowers can now “blow their whistle” to a larger audience, but, as we can see in the cases of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, the power of the Internet is no match for power of the United States government, whose boundaries of enforcement go beyond any geopolitical border and can even force down the airplane of a government official of another sovereign state if it suspects you are harboring a treasonous criminal.

In the days before the Internet, bullies, people jealous of your success, competitors in the workplace, or competing businesses were still out there; but their attacks were short-lived and soon forgotten.  The Internet gives them the power to permanently destroy any reputation that is associated with any name that can be “googled,” and the results will outlast your lifetime.  Questions like “Mom, was grandpa really a bad man?” may become commonplace in this cyber-age.

Technology has moved faster than the law with regard to the Internet.  The Internet gives the defamer the power to destroy a hard-earned reputation with a few clicks of a mouse, with far-reaching effects, to an unlimited audience.  The Google algorithm prioritizes the “most popular” searches on the first page of search results.

Let’s face it: people love scandals.  Many a top news story has been made, especially in the United States, from a scandal.  Remember Monica Lewinsky, for example?  People, in general, love bad news; which is why the news is so full of it.  Bad news is a “headline” and everything else is just a “feature.”  What this means to the Google algorithm is that the more scandalous the gossip is, the better position that gossip will achieve in Google’s results, and the longer it will stay there.

Gossip which used to go by “word of mouth” would never have been published by any respectable newspaper or magazine.  Now any blogger can be a “reporter” – even an investigative reporter – without any journalistic skill, responsibility or conscience.  And the gossip that they spread about you can ruin your credit, cost you a job opportunity, or lose you clients.

The Internet Age has changed the rules for bullying.  With the growing phenomenon of cyber-socializing on the Internet, and the fact that school-age children and teenagers have computers, iPads, and cell phones – all with Internet access – bullies can reach a broader audience with their humiliation and hate speech, do it instantaneously, and the defamation assumes a permanent place in cyberspace.  This is known as cyber-bullying, and it has reached such epidemic proportions that it has been cited as the cause of many teenage suicides.

Megan Meier was the victim, in 2006, of an elaborate cyber-bullying scheme that is fairly common.  As retribution for allegedly gossiping about her daughter, a neighbor’s mother and her bullying friends set up a fake My Space account purporting to be that of a 16-year-old boy.  They sent messages to Megan and chatted with her, and Megan fell in love with the imaginary boy.  Then came the last act:  the imaginary boy sent messages “breaking up” with Megan, shared her messages to “him” all over the Internet, humiliating her, and then sent a message saying, “You are a bad person and everybody hates you.  Have a shitty rest of your life.  The world would be a better place without you.”  Megan then killed herself.

Cyber-bullies spread lies and rumors about their victims, often anonymously, including pretending to be their friends (much like Russ and Gary did with me) in order to obtain personal information and photographs which they manipulate and post on blogs and websites.  Bullying is also done by email and text messaging.

In the days before the Internet, bullies, people jealous of your success, competitors in the workplace, or competing businesses were still out there; but their attacks were short-lived and soon forgotten.  The Internet gives them the power to permanently destroy any reputation that is associated with any name that can be “googled,” and the results will outlast your lifetime.  Questions like “Mom, was grandpa really a bad man?” may become commonplace in this cyber age.

But cyber-bullies do not stop when they leave school.  They become cyber-stalkers.  The problem with cyber-stalkers is that they have more power when they are cloaked in anonymity, as well as less responsibility.  If a cyber-stalker acts anonymously, it is harder to identify him and bring him to justice.  Anonymous free speech has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Talley v. California, 362 U.S. 60 (1960).  Of course, that was over 50 years ago, when there was no Internet; but it’s still a good law.

So, as a result, you have cyber-bullies using modern technology to torture their victims to the point of despair and even suicide, and they have a constitutional right to say whatever they want, anonymously.  Threats of violence, harassment of former romantic partners, and posing as the victim and posting private matters and photographs on the Internet is very common.

A cyber-stalker will go to any length to try to cause you pain and ruin your reputation.   As the name implies, they will virtually “stalk” you on the Internet, to no end.  In the real world, this behavior would possibly be criminal and you could seek a restraining order against it.  But in the online world, there is literally nothing to protect you, and the cyber-stalker will often hide behind a mask of anonymity to prey on his or her victims.

Groups of cyber-stalkers will even organize together on Internet chat boards and help each other to harass a stalker’s victim, publishing altered photographs, threats, and personal information.  These “cyber mobs” find validation in each other’s support, lose their sense of personal responsibility for their actions, and become even more aggressive when they believe they are supported and respected by the others in the mob.  It gives them a false “authority” which they capitalize on by spending their time doing online “research” on their victims, which they see as a kind of “detective work.”

The law of defamation varies from state to state, but essentially, in the common law, defamation is a false statement, published to another party, that causes injury to a person.  If it is an oral statement, it is slander, and if it is a written statement, it is libel.

If you are a public figure, you have to prove the additional element of malice, which is a “knowing or reckless disregard for the truth.”  Public figures such as celebrities (and especially elected officials) are pretty much fair game.  If they weren’t, Jay Leno would be in a lot of trouble.

Defamation is, in most jurisdictions, a civil wrong, or a tort, but there are many countries, including Russia and China, where defamation is a crime.

In California, the defamation law is essentially a codification of the common law.  It is either libel or written defamation, slander or oral defamation.  It is essentially a false statement, made to another person which causes harm to that person’s property, business, profession or occupation.

Libel is “a false and unprivileged publication by writing, printing, picture, effigy, or other fixed representation to the eye, which exposes a person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy, or which causes him to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure him in his occupation.”  California Civil Code section 45.

“Slander is a false and unprivileged communication, orally uttered, and also communications by radio or any mechanical or other means which: 1) charges a person with crime or having been indicted, convicted, punished for crime; 2) imputes in him the present existence of an infectious, contagious, or loathsome disease; 3) tends directly to injure him in respect to his office, profession, trade or business, that has a natural tendency to lessen its profits; or 4) imputes to him impotence or a want of chastity; 5) which, by natural consequence, causes actual damage.”  California Civil Code section 46.

California, like many other jurisdictions, also has defamation per se, where damages are assumed if the false statement accuses the victim of a crime of moral turpitude, a loathsome disease (such as a sexually transmitted disease), or accuses a married person of not being chaste.

Pretty clear, isn’t it?  Okay, so someone has published an untrue statement about you on the Internet, which has caused real damage to your reputation.  Remember the Franciscan Monk?  Attack!!!  Ready, fire, aim!!!  Wait a minute – not so fast.  As my criminal law professor said the first day of class, “In the first semester, I’m going to teach you how to put the criminals away; but in the second semester, I’m going to teach you how to get them off.” There are defenses to defamation that you have to be aware of, such as privilege, truth, and opinion.

Truth is an absolute defense to defamation.   So, if your cyber-bully can prove that what he is saying about you is true, there is nothing you can do about it.  There are also certain cases where you are protected from whatever you may say about a person.  These are cases of privilege, and you generally have a privilege to say anything you want, no matter how outrageous or harmful it may be, in a judicial, legislative, or administrative proceeding.

If a statement by your cyber-bully is an opinion about you, this is a defense to libel.  For example, if he said: “I think Joe Blow is a jerk,” and he knows something about you from which he can formulate that opinion, the statement is probably not actionable.  Likewise, if it is a “fair comment” or an expression of your opinion about a matter in the public interest, like Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, for example (I purposely chose the most ridiculous example), the statement is probably not actionable.

Okay, your cyber-bully or mob has published statements about you on the Internet, you’re not a public figure, the statements are false, they accuse you of a vicious crime or loathsome disease, and it has completely ruined your reputation and your business.  So what?  Even if it is libel or slander per se, you still have to prove damages.  You may say, “But of course my business has been damaged.  It’s ruined.  My reputation is my business.”  Fair enough, but it’s very hard to prove that you have lost a customer or client whom you don’t even know about.  In a defamation case, you have to bring evidence of the damages you suffered in order to recover anything significant.

Prosecuting a legal case is expensive, time-consuming, and it’s very difficult to be a litigant.  The discovery process can be humiliating and can feel like an invasion of your privacy.  Plus, you have to prove you had a good reputation to begin with.  All of this takes evidence, which means that you have to locate witnesses who will testify about your good reputation before the defamation and witnesses who will testify that you had a bad reputation after, because of the defamation.  It’s not as easy as you think.  And that cyber-bully, the one who has all the time to post nasty things about you all over the Internet: remember him?  He probably doesn’t have all that time on his hands because he’s rich and happily retired, getting bored counting his money, and just decided to trash you every day on the Internet.  He probably has all that time on his hands because he is a loser with nothing else to do.  How could he possibly pay you any damages, even if you’re awarded them?  These are all very important things you need to consider before you go out and hire F. Lee Bailey or Alan Dershowitz.

47 USC section 223, known as the anti-cyber-stalking law,  prohibits the interstate or foreign communication of “obscene communications” with the intent to abuse, threaten or harass any person, and “indecent” communications to persons under the age of 18.  But don’t expect the FBI to take on your cyber-harassment case anytime soon.  They are too busy going after people who may have downloaded or watched any type of under-age pornography (another despicable activity).

The federal law probably could be of some use if a member of a cyber-mob is posting personal information that could place you in potential danger.  For example, if he or she posts your home address or telephone number, or your place of work, or information about where you may be and when, and implies or incites violence, this is a crime: and if you call it to the attention of the administrators of the website or blog where this is occurring, it is likely that the information will be removed.  Likewise, if your social security number or private information is posted that could aid in the commission of identity theft against you, this is likely to be taken down if you complain.

Several states, such as Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire and New York, have included cyber-harassment in their anti-harassment statutes, and Alaska, California, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wyoming have defined communications made in cyberspace to be included in their anti-stalking laws.  Texas has enacted a cyber-stalking law that is similar to the federal statute.

But unless it’s a statement that incites violence, then no matter how untrue and no matter how cruel, don’t expect any Internet provider or even the mighty Google to do anything about it.  Unless you can prove it’s a copyright violation, there is absolutely nothing that they will do about it, and they have the full backing of the United States government to do absolutely nothing.

The Communications Decency Act of 1996 (“CDA”) was enacted by Congress before the beginning of the “dot-com bubble” with the intention of regulating pornography on the Internet.  In 1996 there was no Google, no Facebook, and no Twitter.  Cyberspace consisted almost entirely of pornography, which makes the Act already outdated by the technology it was intended to control.  Ironically, the anti-pornography portions of the Act were stricken by the U.S. Supreme Court in Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844 (1997), as a suppression of freedom of speech.  The most notable portion of the Act  that was left was section 230, which gives Internet Service providers (ISPs) immunity against any criminal action or federal intellectual property civil action with respect to any content that is posted on their site.

Even though it is limited to federal criminal and intellectual property law, the landmark decision of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal of Zeran v. America Online, Inc., 129 Fed. 3d 327 (4th Cir. 1997) held that section 230 gave ISPs immunity from all civil liability with respect to content published on their sites whether or not that content was altered by the ISP.

The Zeran case was an obvious case of cyber-harassment.  In Zeran, a mob of cyber-bullies advertised T shirts and other items glorifying the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building by Timothy McVeigh (such as “Visit Oklahoma…It’s a BLAST!”)  and posted Plaintiff Kenneth Zeran’s home telephone number on the message.  Zeran requested AOL to remove the content, which it initially did, but later it refused to remove additional, similar postings.  Zeran received a barrage of threatening telephone calls and the threats of violence resulted in his home being placed under protective surveillance.  While other courts around the country have rejected CDA immunity in cases where the ISPs contributed content, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the Zeran case, so the result you may get in any particular case is determined by where your cause of action arose and, thus, what court you brought your lawsuit in.

On February 12, 2013, President Obama signed Executive Order 13636, calling for the development of a Cyber Security Framework to protect systems and assets vital to the United States which could have an impact on security or national public health and safety.  Some legal authorities have postulated that this may extend to publicly-held companies, and that it may be a sign of cyber security regulations aimed at identity theft, viruses or malware, and potential “advertising injury” which could include copyright infringement and defamation.  See Insurance Cybersecurity Regulations – What Insurance Coverage Do You Need? http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/insurance-cybersecurity-regulations-wh-35583/.

Now that we have determined that it is highly unlikely to succeed against an ISP for the defamatory content that appears on a particular site or sites, there is another hurdle to overcome.  If you are in a state such as California, any lawsuit that is determined to censor or intimidate your cyber-bullies can be summarily dismissed, and you can be assessed with the cyber-bully’s attorney fees and costs of suit.

They are called ‘strategic lawsuits against public participation’ (“SLAPP” suits), and 28 states have enacted legislation outlawing them, in different incarnations.  They are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Washington.

The intentions behind the anti-SLAPP statutes are noble ones.  The primary objective behind a SLAPP suit is to intimidate people who petition the government with grievances.  Florida has the most restrictive anti-SLAPP law.  It is limited to suits brought by the government in response to the right to peacefully assemble, instruct representatives, and redress grievances before governmental agencies, and also applies to homeowners with their homeowner’s association.

California has the most strict anti-SLAPP statute.  It applies to any action “arising from any act of that person in furtherance of the person’s right of petition or free speech” in connection with a “public issue.”  (California Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16.)   This is defined in the statute as any written or oral statement made before legislative, executive, judicial or other proceeding, any written or oral statement made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive or judicial body, any written or oral statement or writing made in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest, or any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.

‘In connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest’ has been interpreted by some California appellate courts to mean any issue that applies to any person who, by their “accomplishments or mode of living”, create a bona-fide attention to their activities.” Hilton v Hallmark Cards, 599 F.3d 894 (9th Cir 2010), quoting Montana v. San Jose Mercury News, Inc., 40 Cal. Rptr. 2d 639 (1995).  This leads anti-SLAPP attorneys to argue that the public decides what a public issue is and, in this case, the “public” is your cyber-mob, because it’s something that they are all talking about.  As my ex-mother in law used to say, “Only famous people are talked about.”

Under the California statute, your cyber-stalker can make a motion to dismiss your case in its initial stages before you have the right to discovery to even find out who your defendants are (in the case of unknown defendants, who you may sue as “John Does”).   This motion stays all discovery, and shifts the burden to the Plaintiff to provide evidence that proves a probability that he or she will prevail on the claim.  This is almost impossible to do without discovery, making it a fait accompli.  The winning of the motion signals the dismissal of the case, and you are assessed with your opponent’s attorney’s fees and court costs.

For as long as you have been living, people have been judging you and sizing you up in almost every social capacity you have been involved in.  This used to be done in person.  A person would meet you, ask you questions, and get a feeling for what you were all about.  In this virtual world, however, many relationships are made online.  Before eyes meet, people have already exchange electronic resumes on some dating site or on Facebook.   According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the percentage of married couples in the United States who met online is a staggering 35%.           And, in a business or professional context, people used to go to a doctor or lawyer based on a personal recommendation.  In this cyber world, they are more likely to let a Google algorithm do the recommending for them.

Google’s search engine is the most popular in the United States, with a market share of over 65%, and is one of the most popular search engines in the world, operating in many different languages.  When most people in the United States look for a business or service, they are most likely to do it using the Google search engine.

The Google algorithm is a mathematical program that searches out key words on over 150 million Internet web sites and assigns a rank to each web page on which the key words appear.  It is so widely used that the word “google” has also become a verb in American pop culture.  “Google it” is a common answer you may hear to a question that requires research.  And when people are trying to decide whether to use your services or patronize your business or hire you as an employee, they are likely going to “google” your name and use the information they read about you to make a decision.

Is that a sound way to make a decision?  Probably not.  Just because something is printed about you on a website, or even ten or 100 websites, doesn’t mean that it is true.  But it is what they are going to look at in making their decision, so you have to face it.

The power to speak anonymously, once used as a political tool, can now be used by virtually anyone.  An email account, Facebook account, or Twitter account can be set up for any fictitious person.  Anonymous people chatting on Internet chat rooms or bulletin boards can be difficult, if not impossible, to trace, and the sites themselves that post libelous material have the immunity to do so thanks to the CDA.  Gossip is becoming the equivalent of news.  What used to be written on the bathroom wall about a teenage girl’s reputation can now be broadcast to thousands, and the record of it stays in cyberspace forever.  The same teenage girl, when she becomes a mother, can look forward to her daughter reading, in explicit detail, how much of a slut she was when she was a teenager or, even worse, watching pornographic videos or pictures (possibly even manipulated) that may have been taken by a scorned lover or ex-husband.

The perpetrators of these crimes go unpunished.  Since they are not committing the crimes face to face, the distance and removal from the victim is like an air force pilot who drops a “smart bomb.”

It becomes impersonal, the victim is dehumanized, and morality is altered.  It’s easier to pull the trigger when you can’t see the person you are aiming at or witness the blood and gore as the bullet connects with its target.  The Google algorithm doesn’t care if the search results it returns are true.  It is designed to rank the most popular sites higher.

Your cyber-bully doesn’t have to make up some of the information he chooses to spout about you on the Internet.  He has help: you.  Posting personal information and photographs on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn, or any number of other sites is fodder for cyber-gangs to manipulate and repost that information and photographs in ways that you may not consider to be very flattering.  Just remember: everything you put into cyberspace stays there, so make sure it’s something you want people looking at 10 years from now, before you do it.  It will be there online, easily accessible to all, long after you are dead and gone.  My wife tells me not to talk to people about my personal life, which is good advice.  It’s even better advice, in this virtual world, not to post something personal about yourself on the Internet, no matter where you post it or whom you intend to see it.  It is a little slice of your privacy that you may be giving up forever.

Because rumors can be posted on the Internet and published to millions instantaneously, they have more powerful effects than in the past, where they were spread from mouth to mouth.  Rumors of stock splits, acquisitions, and the like have caused great swings in the stock prices of huge international companies.  When Steve Jobs was alive, false news that he had suffered from a heart attack sent Apple stock down $10 per share. Zynga stock rose 10% in 2013 on rumors of a possible Yahoo buyout.

Nobody checks the accuracy of anything on the Internet.  Even Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, while often a wonderful place to start research, has user-generated content.  It can be contributed by anyone, as long as you follow their guidelines.  Wikipedia is probably a bad example, because at least it has some degree of respectability as far as accuracy goes.  But 90% of what is on the Internet is absolutely unverified and, therefore, unreliable.  Anybody can post to a free Blogger or WordPress blog anything they want.  And because the matter appears in printed form, it is automatically given a degree of respectability.

One of the most fascinating books I ever read was The Believing Brain, by Michael Shermer.  In The Believing Brain, Shermer explains how the brain forms beliefs and then will seek out seemingly-random patterns to reinforce that belief.  The same is true of what people will read about you on the Internet.

The old saying “Throw enough shit on the wall and it will stick” is the principle behind these online beliefs.  Simply put, if they see it in print enough times, they will believe it is true.  That’s quite frightening when statistics show that people doing an Internet search will seldom go beyond the first page of search results.  If the first impression that someone gets of you is what they read on the Internet, that bias is not likely to change after they meet you in person.  That is why it is important to take control over what people are seeing on the first page of Google.

Since the best way to advertise a product or service is word of mouth, and today’s word of mouth has metamorphosed to cyber word of mouth, it makes sense that whatever is being said about you, your business, or your product on the Internet can have a huge impact on your business or job prospects. For further information, see this article that I contributed to as an expert about the impact of reviews on such sites as “Yelp” and “Trip Advisor”: http://www.kentucky.com/welcome_page/?shf=/2014/09/29/3453093_review-website-such-as-yelp-and.html.

 

 

 

It may sound ridiculous, but in the online world you have no right to your name – unless, of course, you buy it.  It reminds me of an old case I learned in law school called Sullivan v. Sullivan.   In the early days of television, Ed Sullivan had the most popular variety show on TV.  I don’t know why.  He talked funny, in a nasal tone (“It’s a really big shoe tonight”).  But if you were anybody (or wanted to be anybody), your agent had to book you on his show.  There was a local television store owned by a man whose name was also Ed Sullivan, and he used his name as the name of the store.  He was sued by Ed Sullivan the TV show host and won, because the court held that Sullivan had the equivalent of a brand of the name “Ed Sullivan.”  As a result, the “nobody” Ed Sullivan lost the right to use his own name in business.

The same is true of the Internet, but in a different way.  Google doesn’t care (the company – not the algorithm – because it doesn’t care about anything) if someone else takes out a Blogger account named after you, or even uses your name.  In my opinion, if that is not identity theft, I would like to know what is; but Google is immune and will do nothing unless you can prove copyright infringement.  It’s impossible for you to prove copyright infringement of your own name.  Likewise, anyone can buy the Internet domain rights to your name.  It may be the most valuable thing you have; but unless you buy it yourself, you don’t own it.

Mr. Cyber-bully is probably busy not just trying to smear your good name, but he has a full schedule of others to bully as well, so he probably won’t shell out the $20 or $30 that it will take to secure your name – but you should.  Secure as many domain names in as many variations of your name as you can.  If your name is John Smith, get Johnsmith.com, johnsmith.net, and johnsmith.org.  Buy domains with variations of your name using your middle name and initial and your nicknames.  When you’re finished getting as many as you can with different combinations of your name, start using dashes in between your first and last name and middle initial.  For example, get the name, John-smith.com and John-J-Smith.com.  Go to a domain registration site that is inexpensive, like www.godaddy.com or www.1and1.com, on which you can also purchase user-friendly packages that can help you design and put your own website online with no extra cost.

The two blog sites which offer free blogs with the most Internet “power” are http://wordpress.com and http://blogger.com (which is also blogspot.com.)  Make sure you get every variation of your name in both of those free blogs.

Deleting yourself from databases is a good idea for anyone to do.  After all, if you want someone to find you or know something about you, you can tell them yourself, right?   You can opt out of the information bases of “people search” sites such as https://pipl.com in the same manner as you did with the directories – just start at their privacy policy button and keep clicking through until you get to their opt-out procedure.  Make sure you opt out of every such site, including: www.123people.com (look in “privacy policy” and “remove information”), http://wink.comwww.spokeo.com, http://zoominfo.com, www.intelius.com, www.llifehacker.com, Yahoo People Search: http://search.yahoo.com//people/email.html, www.ussearch.com, www.acxiom.com, www.zabsearch.com,  and www.peoplefinder.com.  For some removals, you will have to be very specific.  Research the site ahead of time and note the identifying information, such as city and state.  This will be useful when you go to remove your personal information.  It is very time consuming, so take the time it takes to do a thorough removal job.

Google will remove social security numbers, credit card numbers, and images of your signature from its search database.  To request removal of this information use this link: https://support.google.com/websearch/troubleshooter/3111061.  If your cyber-bully has abandoned his smear site, or you have succeeded in getting the webmaster of the site to agree to remove it, use this link to remove the cached page from Google’s search results: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals?pli=1.  You should try this for any information appearing about you on the web.

Google will also investigate malware, phishing (trying to obtain your personal information under false pretenses), sites engaging in “suspicious behavior” (whatever that is), inaccurate information, your name on adult content sites, a page violating your copyright or trademark rights, or other legal issues.  To start this process, click here: https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/1114905?rd=1#ts=1115655.

Everything that is on the Internet that you can’t get removed by the foregoing methods will most likely always remain on the Internet – forever.  When I was in the Scouts, we used to love to go to summer camp.  At summer camp, we would sing songs and learn useful crafts (like how to survive in the woods if you get lost) and all kinds of other “cool stuff.”  One of the things that I learned that has application to this subject is about the camp latrine.  In the camp latrine there was a tool that is just about as useful as the Google Removal Tool we discussed in Chapter 7.  That tool was a stick.  If the latrine got “clogged up,” we just used that stick to push “all the other shit down.”  The same concept applies to Google searches.

In online reputation management, the object is to put positive information about yourself on the Internet that will rate with the search engines, like Google, which will have the effect of pushing the negative information down.  Since most people don’t go beyond the first page of search results of Google, and almost nobody goes past the third page, this sounds like a fairly simple task, right?  Wrong!  Remember back in Chapter 1 when I told you that Google puts the “most popular” results on Page One of its search page, and that the most scandalous will always be the most popular?  Your positive information has to be compelling and constantly updated, because Google also rates information by its age (unless, of course, it’s scandalous enough).

You can subscribe to all kinds of professional sites that will do this for you, at a very high cost.  What they will do is create a generic bio about you to post as a profile on one web site (in your own name) and various profile websites on the Internet, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many others, and link those sites to other sites so that Google will find the information to be important enough to feature on its web search results.

Or, you can go to http://brandyourself.com, and for a small annual fee, they will guide you through what sites you need to have a presence on, help you create an online profile, link that profile to dozens of web sites for full exposure, and analyze an unlimited amount of links that you choose to submit.  Brand Yourself will prompt you on how to “boost” your links to have them rate higher in search engine results, and will monitor and send you emails on what links are in the top ten of your Google search page.  Brand Yourself is the stick in the latrine, and I highly recommend it.

You can also put news services and trivia into your personal sites in order to give them more content.  Make sure that they each contain information that is a little different, or you will simply be ignored by Google and the other search robots as potential “spam.”

Being active on social media sites, such as Twitter, will move your Twitter profile to the top of the Google search results.  If you go with Brandyourself.com, their system will prompt you to create social media sites, but unless you use them and supply them with fresh content, they will not do you any good; so be active on the social network sites to increase your positive online presence.

Blogging is a great way to build positive search results on the Internet.  I have found that a blog at http://wordpress.com is picked up relatively quickly by the Google search engine.  It is easy to create a blog, and if you can’t think of anything to write on it, you can scan interesting news stories and repost them to your WordPress blog.  Whenever you post, enter your tags and categories on your post and be sure to include all variations of your name.

If you like to write, you can also build positive results by writing opinion columns or stories in places such as www.ezinearticles.com or www.storify.com.  But if you really have something interesting to say, I have found that the website of www.opednews.com is treated very well by Google, as everything you post there comes out as news.  If you become an author at Op-Ed News, you can also create a profile that receives pretty good treatment by Google.

 

One more thing…

I hope you have enjoyed this book and I am thankful that you have spent the time to get to this point, which means that you must have received something from reading it. If you believe your friends would enjoy this book, I would be honored if you would post your thoughts and also leave a review on Amazon.

 

Best regards,

Kenneth Eade

info@kennetheade.com

 

 

Sign up for paperback discounts, advance sale notifications of this and other books, and free stuff by clicking here: http://bit.do/mailing-list.  I will never spam you.

 

 

Legal Thriller ‘Absolute Intolerance’ Launched Today, Raises Issues of Gay Rights

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Legal thriller Absolute Intolerance

‘Absolute Intolerance,’ the 2016 RONE Award finalist in suspense thrillers from author Kenneth G. Eade, whom critics hail as ‘one of the strongest thriller writers on the scene’, was released on Kindle today.  The novel is the eighth fictional outing by Eade, whom critics believe will become “the next John Grisham” in the political and legal thriller genres. “Absolute Intolerance” is the seventh novel in the popular Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series.

Said Eade: “As with all my novels, ‘Absolute Intolerance’ is a story with a higher purpose.  In this case, it is an expose on hate and homophobia.  According to the FBI National Press Office, as of 2010, 19.3% of hate crimes in the United States were motivated by sexual orientation bias.  According to a 2010 Intelligence Report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, LGBT people are far more likely to be the object of a hate crime than any other minority group in America.  I thought it would be interesting to examine two forms of aberrant behavior and find out what happens when homophobia intersects with serial killing.  The series protagonist, attorney Brent Marks, is faced with a moral quandary when he must decide whether or not to defend the religious fanatic accused of murdering his former clients.”

Synopsis:
Homophobia turned deadly.

Lawyer Brent Marks advocates for a gay couple’s marriage. After victory, the couple is found in their home brutally murdered, serial killer style. Can Brent bring himself to defend the only suspect in the case? Where ethics and tolerance collide, Brent must solve the murders to form a viable defense.

Murder is a mouse click away in the latest bestselling book in the #1 legal thriller series.

Absolute Intolerance has received notable acclaim from critics:

“Absolute Intolerance is packed with delightful twists and turns, but its real surprise lies in an unexpected conclusion that neatly sums up events without a predictable path being taken. This makes for a gem of a read for courtroom drama and mystery fans used to the clues adding up to one direction. Absolute Intolerance remains thought-provoking from start to finish, and is a winning story fueled by issues of religious and gay civil freedoms alike.”- Midwest Book Review

“Eade is not only a brilliant writer; he also calls attention to the atrocities that surround us, hiding in our own closets”   – Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame, Top 100 and Vine Voice

‘Absolute Intolerance’ is available now: http://amzn.com/B0173A4N0W


Stay connected with Kenneth G. Eade and news about ‘Absolute Intolerance’ through social media:
https://twitter.com/KennethEade1
https://www.facebook.com/KennethGEadeBestsellingauthor/

Contact:
Kenneth Eade, Author
info@kennetheade.com
http://kennetheade.com

http://webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=201308

Interview with Author Nina Soden

I am very pleased to share this interview with a fellow author.  Today we are featuring the talented Nina Soden.

Nina headshot

Nina, please tell us a little about yourself and why you write.

I grew up in Michigan, went to college at Eastern Michigan University with the hopes of becoming an actress. After college I moved out to Los Angeles, and although I had some success, becoming a full-time actor wasn’t in the cards for me. After meeting and marrying my wonderful husband, we moved down South. I had written poetry for years, and even dabbled in writing screenplays while in L.A. So, after we moved I published my first book Private Words Unspoken, a collection of my poetry. Then I moved onto short stores. One day, one of my short stories just didn’t end. After a few months it was 50,000 words and still going. I was enjoying the story so much that I decided to share it with some friends and family members. The feedback I got was great, and I decided to turn it into a novel.

I have enjoyed the writing process so much that I have published 3 books, Awaken, Beginnings, and Revenge in that series (The Blood Angel Series) and am getting ready to publish the second book, The Hunted, of my latest series (SECTOR C).

Can you tell us a little about each of your books?

My first books were the Blood Angel Series.

3Covers

 

AWAKEN (book 1)

Awaken is set in a world very much like our own, yet Atlanta, Michigan isn’t just an ordinary city and Alee Moyer isn’t just an ordinary girl. Having barely survived her childhood it will take the death of her father for the truth of her true bloodline to come out. Even if it means losing her life, or at least her identity she won’t be able to escape her true destiny as the first surviving Dhampir in history. Surrounded by a new world where the horror films she grew up watching have become reality and the most unlikely characters have become her lifeline, Alee will struggle to find herself and her purpose.

Part horror thriller – part tender romance, Awaken will leave readers eagerly wanting more!

It seems that horror/romance combination is pretty popular nowadays. Tell us about Beginnings and Revenge.

 

BEGINNINGS (book 2)

Having lost her family, Alee has been thrown into a new life and new world. Camouflaged by the mundane happenings of a high school existence she would never have guessed what was happening below the surface in, “The Underground”. If she thought hunting in the wild and drinking blood was bad, what will she think when she becomes the hunted? Newly armed with the knowledge of being half witch and half vampire Alee, the only surviving Dhampir in history, is forced to learn to control a lifetime of magic and vampire powers if she wants to survive. Filled with magic and paranormal delights, Beginnings will leave readers wanting more!

  

REVENGE (book 3)

Having died in her father’s arms only to awaken in a pool of blood surrounded by the corpses of the mutilated, her true love among them, who could blame her for what she did next? Wouldn’t you seek REVENGE?

Tell us about your brand new series, Sector C.

 

The Chosen (book 1)

Sector C The Chosen - Front Cover

 

Set in a futuristic dystopian where society is governed by a council of vampires and lycanthropes, selection students are sheltered and raised in a deceptively utopian world. Strict rules are imposed to control population growth, education, and even personal interactions with other members of the Sector, all in the name of safety.

When ‘A’ comes of age she, like all youth throughout Sector C, and her selection classmates aren’t sent out into the world to find jobs, make money and lead happy carefree lives. They are forced to endure the rigorous physical and mental testing of Selection Week before choosing their destiny or being forced into a fate far worse. Those that make it out alive are announced as sector residence, given a position within the society, and allotted all the privileges of their chosen “culture.” However, when your only choices are vampirism, lycanthropy, breeder, blood donor, or banishment to the Wastelands, what choice do you really have?

 

The Hunted (book 2)

 Sector C The Hunted - Front Cover

In the future, most of the world is governed by a council of vampires and lycanthropes. Sector residents are offered the freedom to live as they desire provided they stay and abide by the laws handed down.

 

After being jolted awake by the blaring screech of the sector alarm, Zelina is dragged from her bed, gagged, and tied to a chair. Confronted with the brutal murder of one of her former classmates, she realizes that all eyes are on her as the primary suspect. Whether she was involved or not doesn’t matter.

 

In the eyes of most sector residents, and most Council Members, Zelina is already a pariah—feared for the powers she will certainly come to possess. For she is the first human known to have both vampire and lycanthrope blood flowing through her veins.

 

Zelina will find herself on a gripping adventure that will take her beyond the borders she’s known all her life in an attempt to save those she loves—and herself from becoming The Hunted.

I understand that The Hunted comes out on Halloween.  That sounds like perfect timing!

Nina 2

I write series myself and I often am asked how difficult it is to write a series   Did you have the entire saga all mapped out beforehand or did you just wing it as you went along?

When I started my first series, I had a rough idea of where books 1 and 2 where going to go, and then by the time I started book 2 I had a pretty good idea of how the series was going to end. However, I have to say, from my first draft to the final book—a lot changed. I let my characters lead the story, and sometime they don’t go exactly where I expect.

When I started the second series SECTOR C, I had no idea what the story was about or who the characters were. I had one scene in my mind and I thought that was the opening scene. I had jotted it down while my family was on a long car ride down to Florida, and a few weeks later when I finally had time to sit at my computer I typed it up. One thing led to another and I was well on my way to a new novel. That “opening scene” ended up being the start of chapter 4, but it is still one of my favorite scenes in the book because it really gives the reader a good idea of who the main character really is.

What drives you to write and where do you find your inspiration?

I’ve always been a creative person. I love art in every form. I enjoy painting, drawing, and even getting dirty doing clay sculptures. I love film and theatre and have always felt at home in front of a camera or on stage, even directing. Writing is just another form of artistic expression.

I think right now, my inspiration comes from my children. I have always tried to follow my dreams and I want them to grow up knowing they can do the same. I want them to believe that they can do and be anything in life as long as they try. After college I moved out to Los Angeles with stars in my eyes, hoping to catch my big break. No, it didn’t happen. Although I had some degree of success in film and commercials, it wasn’t near the level I had hoped for. Then, I met my husband, and we left California behind. It didn’t mean I was giving up, it meant I was finding a new dream. I started doing theatre again, then I had my kids, and my goals in life changed. Now, I write. I’ve published four books and I’m about to release the fifth. My kids have watched me through the whole process. They know it takes hard work and dedication, but that I did it because I wanted it bad enough. It’s a lesson I learned from my parents and one I am very proud to be sharing with my kids.

What is the hardest part about writing and being an indie author?

I used to say the editing process is the hardest part. Watching your manuscript, that you put your heart and soul into, get ripped to shreds by an editor can be very painful. However, now I believe the hardest part is marketing myself. I can deal with the edits and the re-writes because I know the story will be better because of it. Marketing myself and getting my name out there and my books in reader’s hands is very hard. It really doesn’t matter how good your novel is, it can be amazing but if no one knows about it then it’s just words on paper. Unfortunately, it’s hard for an indie author to find readers and more importantly, readers who are willing to write reviews when they like your book. Good reviews are gold to an indie author and bad reviews can kill your career before it has even begun.

What is your favorite genre?

I read a lot of different genres, but right now my favorite has to be YA Supernatural. I guess maybe because I am so engrossed in my own books right now, I tend to read others in the same genre. However, I love science fiction, dystopian, murder mysteries, horror, and autobiographies.

 Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I would love to say writing full-time, but if not, then at least enjoying my family, writing when I can, and doing theatre. I’m pretty happy with a simple life.

Do you have any helpful suggestions or advice for new writers?

Don’t give up. If you really want to be an author then keep writing. Writing isn’t always easy but it is worth it. It is fun and extremely rewarding.

Where can we find more information about you and your books?

I have a blog, a page on Facebook and profile on Twitter, and you can look up my author page and all of my books on Amazon.

Reintroducing The Lincoln Lawyer, courtesy of John Grisham?

Lincolnlawyer

Remember The Lincoln Lawyer?  That legal thriller by Michael Connelly which introduced unconventional lawyer Mickey Haller?  He’s back!  And apparently because of John Grisham.

Grisham’s Rogue Lawyer is Sebastian Rudd, who works out of a van instead of an office, has a driver/bodyguard instead of a receptionist, an ex-wife and a kid, a problem with alcohol and with authority and the occasional brush up against the law.  Sound familiar?  Apparently readers think so too.

That is the reason why The Lincoln Lawyer is enjoying a renaissance of sorts; not because the protagonist in Rogue Lawyer admits reading it.  From the release of Rogue Lawyer on October 20, Michael Connelly’s street lawyer tale has shot up the charts, where it now occupies the #1 spot in legal thriller books on Amazon.com, the #2 spot in legal thrillers on Kindle (where it is #31 in the Kindle Store).  Not bad for a book that was released 10 years ago.

As a legal thriller author myself, I have admiration for the work of my fellow authors who write in my genre, and I know there is room for all of us.  Grisham was probably inspired by Connelly’s Lincoln Lawyer and there is nothing wrong with that.  There is room for one more rogue lawyer on the block and there will probably be more.  In fact, Michael Connelly should probably send a thank you note to John Grisham for the boost.

Kenneth Eade http://kennetheade.com is a recovering lawyer and the author of the Brent Marks Legal Thriller Series; a series of 9 legal thrillers which are wrapped around current issues, such as Guantanamo Bay, police brutality, and mortgage fraud.

 

 

Legal Thriller ‘Killer.com’ released today

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Rocketing to the top of Amazon’s hot new release list, ‘Killer.com’ by author Kenneth G. Eade has been called “a wild ride” by critics, who believe that Eade is the one who will become “the next John Grisham” in the political and legal thriller genres. In the vein of his wildly popular legal thriller series, Eade delivers another solid and intricately plotted tale. At its core, ‘Killer.com’ is an examination of the ’Dark Web’ of the Internet.

“When I wrote my seventh novel, I sought to write an action-packed thriller but without the clichés and tropes readers often find in other books of the genre,” says Eade. “I thought of how people abuse the Internet, and how it has enabled cyber bullies to hide behind phony names, making it easier to hurt people anonymously.  This gave me the idea of doing a story about hiring a killer anonymously online.  Little did I know that the ’Dark Web’ had many such sites”

Searing, exhilarating and topical, ‘Killer.com’ puts a new spin on the abuse of the Internet.

Synopsis:
Murder goes high tech with deadly consequences in the latest book of the #1 bestsellling Legal Thriller Series.

A mob of anonymous cyber stalkers torments lawyer Brent Marks with defamatory posts on the Internet in this latest installment of the legal thriller series.  When Marks sues to enjoin their libelous publication, the stalkers hide behind the immunity of the Communications Decency Act. Then a mysterious anonymous killer for hire arrives, and Brent finds himself on the wrong side of the law.

Since its release, the book has received notable acclaim from critics and readers alike.“Eade is brilliant when it comes to creating complicated, intriguing stories that end in mind-blowing surprises, and some have said that his novels will remind readers of John Grisham, proving that Kenneth Eade deserves to be on the same lists with the world’s greatest thriller authors.”-I Publisher News “Eade, a lawyer by profession, weaves legal dialogue, corruption and international action to create a pacey read with echoes of Grisham, Baldacci and Clancy nipping at his writing heels.”- SPR Review” 

“Eade’s skill with writing dialog is brilliant. His technique for propelling a story forward is second to none. Bind a controversial subject of contemporary reality of tolerance, racism, prejudice and violence in American society (what topic could possibly be more timely?!) and a good old-fashioned thriller and you have Kenneth’s next step into prominence in the public’s eye. Eade is not only a brilliant writer; he also calls attention to the atrocities that surround us, hiding in our own closets. He has carved his niche now shares this collection as a unit. He recommends reading them in the following order: A Patriot’s Act, Predatory Kill, HOA Wire, Unreasonable Force and Killer.com. He has his reasons for the order. But each book is solid and worth to stand alone. Highly Recommended. – Literary Aficionado

Killer.com’ is available now: http://amzn.com/B0117UFSCG

Stay connected with Kenneth G. Eade and news about ‘Predatory Kill’ through social media.

 

Dark world of #GMO in Kenneth Eade’s “An Involuntary Spy”

http://www.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/dark-world-of-gmo-in-kenneth-eade-s-thriller-an-involuntary-spy/article/364570

How does a genetic biologist working for a large biotech company, developing genetically engineered food, go up against government corruption and fraud when he tries to expose his employer?

Kenneth Eade’s political thriller, “An Involuntary Spy”, tackles the dark world of the GMO food industry. Digital Journal had the opportunity to interview Mr. Eade regarding his latest work.

“It just could be that this book breaks the real life controversy wide open. There are untold miseries that may not be known for decades. Altering the foods we eat can not be done without consequences. If natural is best for human health, GMOs are the worst. In the future, plant-based medicine may not work due to the manipulation of genes today.” – Barbara Stanley, Atlantic Natural Health Examiner

DJ: Tell us what makes your book different from other spy or political thrillers?

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Kenneth Eade

Eade: “An Involuntary Spy” is a political thriller, but it differs from other political thrillers, because, instead of the FBI and the CIA being the good guys, and the Russians being the bad guys, as usual, my hero is the good guy, who is chased by the CIA (the bad guys) and finds refuge in Russia.

It is also different from the genre because it is a believable story that could appear in the news headlines at any moment. And it educates the reader on the dangers of GMO foods at the same time as it entertains.

DJ: Tell me something about your book.

Eade: The story is about Seth Rogan, a genetic engineer with a promising career with the largest biotech company in the world. He loved his job more than anything, but when he was asked to do some tests on the company’s genetically engineered foods, he became entangled in a trail of corruption and fraud that he wanted no part of, but could not escape from.

Seth discovers that the danger in the genetically engineered foods made by his company is being covered up not only by the company, but also the government. Deciding this moral dilemma in favor of what he feels is right, he blows the whistle on the company and the government, and escapes the country as a fugitive. On the run, he is forced to become an involuntary spy.

DJ: What genre is it?

Eade: The genre is political fiction, but it has been on the top of Amazon’s science fiction charts in the category of genetic engineering.

DJ: What kind of readers will it appeal to?

Eade: I think it will appeal to everyone over the age of 18. It has action, romance, sex, and a real message to impart to the reader as opposed to just entertainment.

DJ: What inspired you to write the book?

Eade: While writing the best selling non-fiction book, “Bless the Bees”, I did a lot of research on the hidden dangers of genetically engineered foods. I was disgusted by the way the government agencies like the FDA and EPA were controlled by ex-executives from Monsanto and the fact that Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) foods undergo no safety testing by the government.

I thought to tell the story of how the big chemical companies quietly slipped GMOs onto our table. The best way I thought to do it was a human story about someone who was torn between their job and what was morally right.

DJ: Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, could you please share it with us?

Eade: Each chapter of the books is like a small story with a cliffhanger, and I go back and forth between the past and present. There are also philosophical points made in the book. I love them all, so I can’t really say I have a favorite, but here is an excerpt from one:

“Winston Churchill said Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. That pretty much summed up the place. The young women were beautiful; the old women were hags. The people were highly educated, but most of them held down lowly jobs. The summers were brutally hot and the winters stingingly cold. It was a country of constant contrast and vast inequality. But Seth found the people in the Far Eastern provinces to be warm and generous. And if you knew when your last day of life was going to be, it was the best place to spend your last night on earth, because in Russia people party like tomorrow will never come.

Seth had never thought he would have ended up here, so far from home, so out of touch with everything and everyone. He couldn’t even use his own name. He was a man without a country, without an identity. A traitor, a spy, banned forever from his own country, and all because he wanted to do something that he thought – no, knew – was right. Set things right. Like Einstein’s great mistake, he had helped to unleash Armageddon on the world and now he felt responsible to stop it.

Yes, the company had been good to him, and had fulfilled his every material need. And he had reciprocated. But sometimes one man must fight for what he feels is right, even against the majority. Something that is wrong does not change to right just because the majority approves it, ignores it, or the government says it is right. It is still wrong.

And he still saw the company and his country as being two separate and distinct entities. How had the lines blurred between the two and where had he crossed over from loyal citizen to traitor? Had not the company betrayed his country and become the true traitor, and he merely the bearer of the news of that betrayal?”

DJ: Tell me something about yourself.

Eade: I’m an author of fiction and non-fiction with a background as an international business lawyer, specializing in international law, Internet Law, appeals and complex litigation. I hold a Juris Doctor in Law from Southwestern University School of Law, and a B.A. in Liberal Studies from California State University, Northridge. I’m also a filmmaker and a freelance writer for the Los Angeles Daily Journal as well as an environmentalist and outspoken critic against genetically modified foods and the overuse of pesticides.

DJ: Where or when is your book available for sale? Add your links here.

Eade: It is available now on Amazon in Kindle and paperback and Barnes and Noble in paperback, at the following links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

DJ: Do you have a marketing strategy? If yes, could you please share how? Was it effective in increasing sales or exposure?

Eade: My marketing strategy has been to use Kindle Direct Publishing’s promotional tools and to get as much Internet exposure as possible. I believe it has been successful in getting this book on the best seller list.

DJ: If you were given one wish to make a change in the world, what would it be?

Eade: I wish that everyone would read this book, and that will change the world. We are all living with our heads buried in the sand. The government is allowing large corporations to do whatever they want. This latest assault on our environment is the government allowing their cronies to put dangerous food on our table that causes obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s, autism, allergies, gluten intolerance and a host of other things we don’t know yet, Not only that, it is contaminated our natural food supply and poisoning entire ecosystems. This is a villain which must be stopped.

DJ: Do you have anything you would like to say to Digital Journal readers?

Eade: Be aware, be informed, and ask questions about everything. Urge the government to force the chemical companies to label genetically engineered foods so you can avoid them. They are in almost every packaged or processed food. If you feel as passionate as it as me, please sign the petitions to require the FDA to conduct independent safety testing on GM foods before their approval at my website.

DJ: What is next for you?

Eade: I’m writing a book called, “Predatory Kill,” about a lawyer who takes on a case for a client against the big banks. The client is trying to convince the lawyer that a bank executive is responsible for murdering her mother and putting her father in a coma. Before he has the chance to decide whether this is fantasy or not, he becomes inextricably entwined in the madness.

DJ: How can readers find you?

Eade: They can look me up on my Amazon author’s page; or see my entire bio on my blog. Check out the official book website aninvoluntaryspy.com

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Ken Eade holds a Juris Doctor in Law from Southwestern University School of Law, and a B.A. in Liberal Studies from California State University, Northridge. Kenneth Eade is also an accomplished filmmaker and a free lance writer for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and an environmentalist.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/dark-world-of-gmo-in-kenneth-eade-s-thriller-an-involuntary-spy/article/364570#ixzz3lbwxtAkO

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Legal and Political Thrillers: Chilling Literary Spines

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/getrude-matshe/political-and-legal-thril_b_6812954.html

Author Kenneth Eade

Kenneth Gordon Eade is an American environmental activist, author and lawyer, best known for his legal and political thrillers. Eade’s first bestseller on Amazon.com was “An Involuntary Spy,” a fictional spy thriller that critics have said has broken wide open the GMO controversy. The story follows a rogue scientist working for an American biotech firm who goes on the run from authorities after stealing information from his employer which proves government collusion and a cover-up of fraud surrounding the dangers of the company’s genetically engineered foods.

All his books are all thrilling fictitious storylines uniquely created by Kenneth Eade, a bestselling author who has built a strong reputation for masterful suspense. The same holds true for Eade’s latest release, “HOA Wire.” “The novel was just released this year,” he says. “When I have inspiration, I write until I am exhausted.”

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The setting takes place in the quiet Orange Grove neighborhood. Residents become frantic when the president of the homeowner’s association is murdered. “There are plenty of suspects,” says Eade. “Every resident who lives there.”

Fans who’ve already read the book cover-to-cover are describing it as a fast-paced, action-packed, thought-provoking crime thriller that is truly exhilarating. “HOA Wire” is just one of several novels that Eade has written over the years. “I recommend that everyone reads A Patriot Act and Predatory Kill before HOA Wire,” he says. “Each one of these novels stands alone, but the story lines will have much greater impact if they are read in this specific order.”

Kenneth Eade attended the Honors Program at El Camino Real High School, which allowed him to attend classes at Los Angeles Pierce College at the age of 15. By the time he graduated from high school in 1975, he had amassed over two years of transferable credits. He graduated from California State University, Northridge, before attending Southwestern Law School, where he graduated in 1980 the youngest member of his class. After Southwestern, he practiced civil and criminal law for about a decade, then went into business law with an emphasis on securities law, and civil litigation.

In 2011, Eade began writing opinion pieces for the Los Angeles Daily Journal. Two of the articles centered on the subject of the unconstitutionality of the now defunct Monsanto Protection Act, and the dangers of genetically modified foods and neonicitinoid pesticides and their adverse effect on bees. This led to his first book, the non-fiction work, “Bless the Bees: The Pending Extinction of our Pollinators and What You Can Do to Stop It” in 2013, as well as the children’s book, “Bee See: Who are our Pollinators and Why are They in Trouble?”

All of Eade’s novels involve the fictitious character, Brent Marks and are known as the Brent Marks Legal Thrillers. All of these books are now available on Amazon.com.

For more information about “HOA Wire” or any of Eade’s other novels, Click here or check out his Facebook page.

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