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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

Activist Comics: Constitutional Amendment

(1) Comments | Posted November 22, 2014 | 5:30 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 | 3:26 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 | 1:46 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 | 5:54 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 | 6:05 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 | 5:56 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 | 2:01 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 | 5:31 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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Citizens United, Explained With Dogs

(0) Comments | Posted November 1, 2014 | 8:07 PM

It is an antiquated rule banning cameras from the Supreme Court, when they are public proceedings affecting all Americans. John Oliver was right to challenge this seclusion from the public eye on his recent episode of Last Week Tonight when he had no choice but to dramatize courtroom...

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Teddy Davis, Clean Money Candidate for L.A. City Council

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2014 | 10:20 PM

"To be a council member, it's like being mayor of someone's neighborhood," Teddy Davis explains to me. Each council member represents 250,000 people, though perhaps less than ten percent will vote in a race for who gets to decide what happens to the land in their neighborhood. Davis is running...

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Diamond District steps up with 'March on Washington'

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 9:58 PM

A striking return to form, March on Washington puts Diamond District back on the map as one of the most vital voices in hip hop today. Their 2010 debut In The Ruff garnered fans worldwide as well as caught critics's attention, leading to the shortlist for a Grammy. With March...

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'This Is Your Country,' My #MayDayin30 Video

(1) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 9:55 PM

I believe that we can use the modern tools available to spread awareness and empower citizens, and that our collective stories can affect revolutionary reform. It is why I am committed to storytelling as a medium for activism, with citizen journalism today serving as oversight.

I am excited to...

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The Pay 2 Play Board Game, More Realistic Than Monopoly!

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 5:29 PM

In order to face any of our mounting problems, we need leaders who will listen to We The People, not just We The Wealthiest People. I set out to make a documentary about the obstacles to elected office, in hopes of encouraging reform and inspiring future candidates. I also wanted...

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Democracy in Ohio is Hard Enough Already

(1) Comments | Posted October 1, 2014 | 6:57 PM

Democracy in America is such that, after its citizens have participated in national elections, and all of their votes have been counted, with each state's combined number of U.S. House Representatives and Senators determining an allotment of Electoral College votes, added together with due diligence reveal -- reliably -- that...

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Our Pay to Play System, Embodied by Beanie Babies

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2014 | 10:17 PM

There was a political scandal I heard about that changed the way I looked at corruption and helped me understand the larger mechanisms at work in government and society. It rocked the swing state of Ohio right after a disputed election, toppled the state's one-party rule and ended the Taft...

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Playing Monopoly With Our Lives

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 8:12 PM

In all likelihood, when you were little, you played America's best-selling board game, Monopoly. The colorful money, antique tokens, and cartoon old man let us pretend to be important, to feel successful, to realize the American Dream of prosperity. This childhood memory becomes something parents share with their children, growing...

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Three Years Later, What Has Come of Occupy Wall Street?

(101) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 9:21 AM

This week marks the third anniversary of protesters descending on Wall Street to protest the havoc wrought by the 2008 Financial Meltdown, which had hit all Americans hard, except for the ones who had caused it.

What began as an open call from Adbusters to show up with a...

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We Can Put An End to Pay to Play

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 10:20 PM

What is Pay to Play? Commonly held, pay to play is a form of getting a special deal because you paid someone off. Usually this is an indirect transaction, because of clear legal guidelines, and so creative ways are devised around long-standing common-sense laws prohibiting politicians from taking bribes. For...

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March Against Monsanto Takes Action in Hollywood

(2) Comments | Posted May 24, 2014 | 7:13 PM

A few hundred people marched through Hollywood on Saturday to protest genetically modified organisms (GMO's) and the corporate giant Monsanto. Gathering at Hollywood Blvd. and La Brea, the marchers held a direct action, asking protesters to plant organic seedlings in the public park. The many honking horns of passers-by was...

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LydiaEmily Breaks Out in Bound

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2014 | 10:40 PM

LydiaEmily's new art show Bound opened at the Garboushian Gallery in Beverly Hills Saturday night to an overflow crowd of fans and supporters, including some wearing bandanas and braid wigs in tribute to the artist. A portrait painter who found that the streets offered an ideal forum for...

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