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John Wellington Ennis
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John Wellington Ennis is a filmmaker in Los Angeles. His production company Shoot First Inc. in Hollywood specializes in political messaging with a viral sensibility.

FREE FOR ALL!, his 2008 documentary about election fraud, was called "engrossing, even enraging" by Roger Ebert. His next film, PAY 2 PLAY, explores political corruption at its comic heights while examining the need for campaign finance reform. Ennis directed and produced a feature comedy with the Upright Citizens Brigade, Wild Girls Gone, starring Amy Poehler in a Florida political satire. His Big Pharma documentary Money Talks: Profits Before Patient Safety was recommended by the American Library Association as a must-see.

His new book Where Else But the Streets is a photo dossier of street artists in Los Angeles with interviews conducted during the making of PAY 2 PLAY. Ennis is on the board of Public Interest Pictures, and co-founder of Video the Vote, a non-partisan, not for profit group that documents and reports voting problems, at videothevote.org. Ennis was voted Mr. Lower East Side for 2002.

Entries by John Wellington Ennis

Is 'Dukes of Hazzard' Really Racist?

(166) Comments | Posted July 3, 2015 | 8:24 PM

The controversy and soul-searching surrounding TV Land's removal of Dukes of Hazzard reruns from its schedule has prompted concerns across social media along the lines of, "Is this going too far?" More than once, I have seen people question, "What's next?" with a list of other things that...

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People Power Prevails at the Supreme Court

(1) Comments | Posted July 1, 2015 | 6:14 PM

At a volatile time in American democracy, where candidates by the dozens curry the favor of billionaires and citizens openly question the validity of elections, the Supreme Court this week upheld an important tool in revitalizing our democracy.

To be sure, the Roberts Court has proven to...

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Movement to Reform Campaign Finance Keeps Growing

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2015 | 11:28 PM

Reform rarely arrives as a silver bullet, clearing danger in a single shot. The way reform takes hold is more gradual and disparate, like ivy or tree branches growing, until one day you notice all the leaves you are surrounded by.

With the Run Warren Run campaign now retired,...

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How Doug Hughes Took Free Speech to New Heights

(2) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 8:30 PM

Doug Hughes does not have a Super PAC.

A Super PAC, created in the wake of the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United vs. FEC, is a campaign expenditure entity that has no limits to how much money it can spend in an election or how much one donor...

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President Obama Is Right: It's Time for Mandatory Voting

(66) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 8:54 PM

Today at the Cleveland City Club, President Obama suggested mandatory voting as a solution to the influence of big money in politics. "We shouldn't be making it harder to vote, we should be making it easier to vote," President Obama said to applause. "In Australia, other countries, there's...

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Biden Orders Letters Removed From RNC HQ

(25) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 2:45 PM

Following his stinging rebuke to Senate Republicans for undermining talks with Iran, Vice President Joe Biden apparently took note of Oklahoma University's recent actions and ordered the letters removed from Republican Party Headquarters.

Republican Chair Reince Preibus was nonplussed, demanding, "Without letters on...

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Mr. President, It's Our Moment of Truth

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2015 | 7:38 PM

Dear Mr. President,

From the heartlands of America to our city centers, there are too many folks who don't believe our system works. When citizens are under-served by their leaders, an apathy is fostered that enables corruption and prevents accountability. Despite the historic struggle to vote, the dream of democratic...

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The Official History of Monopoly Is a Fraud (VIDEO)

(6) Comments | Posted February 27, 2015 | 3:36 PM

This year marks the 80th anniversary of America's best-selling board game, Monopoly. And while many folks might fib about their age, Hasbro's accounting of the game's birth is quite the tall tale.

The true story is revived in a new book by journalist Mary Pilon, The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and...

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Coke-Snorting Oscar Statue Kicked Off Hollywood Blvd.

(0) Comments | Posted February 19, 2015 | 4:28 PM

A giant Oscars statuette snorting lines of cocaine was booted from Hollywood Blvd. today, in close proximity to the Dolby Theatre, site of Sunday's Academy Awards. Entitled "Hollywood's Best Party," the life-sized golden Oscar statue is on its hands and knees, holding a rolled-up hundred dollar bill to lines of...

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Who Is Citizens United? (WATCH)

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 6:19 PM

As we mark the 5th anniversary of the disastrous Supreme Court decision Citizens United vs. FEC, it is worth heeding: Who is Citizens United, and how did they manage to subvert generations of campaign finance laws? The name now synonymous with untold billions influencing our elections had its origins as...

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This is Exactly What Pay-2-Play Looks Like

(0) Comments | Posted December 13, 2014 | 5:12 PM

Our new film PAY 2 PLAY is centered on how our political process is bound invariably by big money interests who use campaign spending as bait for politicians to get massive payouts in return from the public piggy bank. As Noam Chomsky explains at the beginning, "Both parties...

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Putting Our Country Back Together

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 7:44 PM

A largely quiet tactic to disenfranchise voters of all persuasions has become a target of reform-minded citizens in the wake of the 2014 midterm elections. While we have seen widespread pushback against voter suppression, unreliable voting machines, and unchecked spending in elections, gerrymandering -- the process of selectively...

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Activist Comics: Constitutional Amendment

(1) Comments | Posted November 22, 2014 | 4:30 PM

The Supreme Court doesn't seem to care about much besides the very richest when it comes to campaign finance law. In the 2010 decision Citizens United vs. FEC, the court ruled that no amount of money can corrupt a politician, hence there shouldn't be any limits to spending...

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Activist Comics: Public Financing

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 2:26 PM

Elections are in the public interest, designating the propriety of public works, impacting every single member of the public -- so therefore we must have public financing for campaigns. When the candidate with the most money wins over 90 percent of the time, it's not an election, it's a rich...

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Activist Comics: Compulsory Voting

(0) Comments | Posted November 20, 2014 | 12:46 PM

It's kind of crazy that people will accept an army draft in wartime, serving jury duty, and now buying health insurance as government mandates, but the notion of required voting provokes outraged reactions. As it is, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be quick to point out

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Activist Comics: End Gerrymandering

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 4:54 PM

You would think that your vote gets counted just as equally as others. But you'd be wrong. The reality is, depending on where you live, your vote is quite likely taken for granted in preemptive zoning by election officials.

This tactic of partitioning voter blocs to count on favorable...

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Activist Comics: Disclosure

(1) Comments | Posted November 18, 2014 | 5:05 PM

If someone was talking shit about you, wouldn't you want to know who it was? And if it was $145 million worth of shit you were buried under, wouldn't you be outraged and demand to know who was dumping all this excrement on top of you, and why?

Well,...

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Activist Comics: Free Airtime for Candidates

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 4:56 PM

In the wake of the 2014 midterms, it is estimated that dark money spending -- campaign expenditures from unknown contributors -- topped $145 million. Most of that is spent on outside advertising, which is now largely unregulated since the Citizens United decision ruled that restricting corporations' right to...

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In Midterms Aftermath, a Bright Spot in Ohio

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2014 | 1:01 PM

Elections have consequences. And in the most decisive state in the nation, the 2014 midterms have already produced measurable improvement.

In the wake of Republicans' easy victories Tuesday, Chris Redfern announced he would be stepping down as the chair of the Ohio Democratic Party. The writing had...

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The Wool Over Our Eyes

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 4:31 PM

No one likes having the wool pulled over their eyes. Now imagine wealthy CEOs hiring millions of knitters to blanket your entire city with a massive wool sweater, soaked in gasoline. That's what dark money is. It's rich interests that already have millions to burn, but would rather spend that...

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