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Diebold Does it Again: ATM Specs, Anyone?

Posted by John Wellington Ennis

Not that there is much credibility left to Diebold, the ATM banking machine company that did to voting machines what BP did to off-shore drilling–which is to say, brilliantly convince even their most steadfast defenders that they should not even be in this industry, ultimately requiring federal intervention from supremely reluctant politicians that have been taking their money all this time.

With the SEC lawsuit and $25 million settlement with Diebold, as well as its investigation of three top Diebold executives, there are still numerous investigations into the legitimacy of Diebold being able to sell off their voting machines division, Premier Election Solutions, to their only other competitor, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), thereby creating a voting machine maker monopoly.

If Diebold’s top leadership has been found by federal investigators to be guilty of inflating their profits, is it unreasonable to be able to ask if their number-crunching company approach has carried into their administration of numerous elections that have long stood out as dubious?

For too long, Max Cleland has not been vindicated for losing his U.S. Senate seat in Georgia in 2002, amid suspect results in a bitter election that included his Republican opponent attacking the decorated war veteran and triple amputee for being soft on terrorism. Chris Hood, a former elections technician for Diebold, spoke to Velvet Revolution to identify his role in applying a “patch” on election night in Georgia in 2002 under direction from the Diebold president.

Even after elections have been called and conceded, their problems need to be investigated, and laws need to be enforced.

The irregularities on Diebold machines widely reported throughout Ohio in the 2004 presidential election led me to explore and document Diebold’s role in how secure our vote tabulation is, and how they received such significant contracts with states in the first place in my election film FREE FOR ALL! The electronic voting machines documentary Hacking Democracy investigated how vulnerable these machines are, and how determined Diebold was to cover up their faulty process rather than improve transparency.

So is it so surprising that Diebold, the one-time protector of America’s votes, is the kind of company that would leave kinda sensitive stuff lying around a hotel lobby recently in their home state Ohio, like tech specs for getting in and out of their ATM machines, as well as decals that would let you pimp your ride to look like an official Diebold employee?

There’s a whole book of ATM specs, but I hesitate to share more, since Diebold could try to screw me like they did Stephen Heller, the Diebold Whistleblower (described here in the election integrity doc Uncounted) , who as a legal temp came across documents proving Diebold’s intent to mislead the California Secretary of State about improvements to their voting machines. Heller alerted the media and Diebold was exposed, and their voting machines were dropped by the California Secretary of State, who also referred Diebold for criminal charges. Unfortunately for Heller, he was prosecuted by the District Attorneys office and had to pay $10,000 in damages for violating attorney-client privilege.

So, in advance, I have some Diebold money to pay them with, which was also laying around this Ohio hotel lobby after a recent Diebold sales conference, presumably used to demonstrate how securely their machines protect Monopoly money:

Seeing as how Wally O’Dell, who as Diebold president infamously promised to deliver Ohio for George W. Bush in a 2004 Republican fund raising letter, will have to pay $470,000 personally in damages, here is some incentive to do your business with Diebold, who clearly needs to boost their sales if they have just been convicted for lying about them for years:

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Diamond District brings D.C. Hip Hop to L.A.

Posted by John Wellington Ennis

The venerable DJ store Fat Beats on Melrose was welcome to L.A.’s first visit by Hip Hop artists Diamond District, an infectious charge of old school rap flavored by the emcees’ region, the “DMV” — the area spanning D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, a merging of affluent areas with impoverished neighborhoods wrapped around the heart of America’s government. The group gets its name from the diamond-shaped layout that is the District of Columbia.

In this video, emcee/producer Oddisee explains Diamond District’s musical goals, and the group performs their album’s opening song, “Streets Won’t Let Me Chill.” Insisting on getting the small gathering hyped, Oddisee leads those present in call and response during the song, rather amusingly.

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Broadcasting in Primary Colors at the eGuiders Studio

Posted by John Wellington Ennis

Today I appeared on the Interwebs with eGuiders Live from their Los Feliz studio, discussing my film PAY 2 PLAY and my recent coverage of the Ohio primaries.  Host Marc Ostrick was witty and urbane, and he screened a series of clips from the recent political dramas I have been following.

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Diamond District at Fat Beats, West Hollywood

Posted by John Wellington Ennis

D.C. Hip Hop came to West Hollywood yesterday as Diamond District gave an in-store performance to celebrate the release of their debut album In the Ruff.  This song is “I Mean Business,” and already seems like a classic.  Fat Beats’ illustrious interior featuring decades of rap greats plastered over every angle makes for an effective setting.

More video to come of Diamond District’s first L.A. appearance.

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Diamond District

Posted by John Wellington Ennis

D.C. hip hop artists Diamond District shone in East LA tonight. Check them Saturday at Fat Beats on Melrose & Curson in West Hollywood at 5:30 pm doing an in-store performance. (And remember, you first heard of them from me!)

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A Threat to Documentaries

Posted by John Wellington Ennis

In a disturbing precedent, a Federal judge has ordered a filmmaker to surrender over 600 hours of raw footage he filmed about a long-running suit against Chevron

Court Orders Documentary Filmmaker Surrender

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Ohio Underdog: Surya Yalamanchili Wins Primary for U.S. House

Posted by John Wellington Ennis

In a race that drew national attention in its closing days over allegations of race-baiting and conspiracies, the winner of the Democratic Primary for U.S. Representative in Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District is political newcomer Surya Yalamanchili. Yalamanchili, or “Chili” as he is also known as, is 28 years old and left his job as the youngest brand manager in Proctor & Gamble’s history to run for office full-time on a threadbare campaign out of his condo.

Yalamanchili will now challenge U.S. Representative Jean Schmidt in November for her House seat. While the political establishment has already taken a dim view of his chances, Yalamanchili has already exceeded expectations in winning the party nomination, and has the networking ability you might expect from someone who worked at LinkedIn. Besides, he was on “The Apprentice,” and those people are hard-core.

Here is Surya’s speech Tuesday night upon hearing that his opponent David Krikorian had conceded the election.

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Keith Olbermann Swipes Back at Krikorian

Posted by John Wellington Ennis

Keith Olbermann just responded on his show tonight to my interview with David Krikorian that went up earlier on The Huffington Post.  (Many thanks for the linkage today from Think Progress, Politico, Cincinnati Enquirer, Buckeye State Blog, Plunderbund, Ohio Daily Blog, among others.)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Ohio Candidate Rebukes Keith Olbermann for Calling Him World’s Worst Person

Posted by John Wellington Ennis

David Krikorian has just had one of those weeks where he has gone from local personality to whipping boy, with the stampede of critics that only the blogosphere can bring.

Krikorian’s remarks at a campaign event last week with veterans in Clermont County struck one attendee as racially insensitive in how Krikorian referred to his opponent for the Democratic nomination, Surya Yalamanchili. That attendee then wrote a letter to the current representative for Ohio’s 2nd District, Jean Schmidt, concerned that Krikorian had suggested to the audience that Yalamanchili could not get elected in the Second District of Ohio because of his name.

Jean Schmidt then took the surprising step of writing a letter to David Krikorian, deploring his conduct and intolerant attitude. Her public reprimand was quickly joined by similar letters to Krikorian from David Lane, Chair of the Clermont County Democratic Party, Tim Burke, Chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, and Chris Redfern, Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party. Such a broad condemnation for a candidate less than a week before the primary election is virtually unprecedented, according to people who have been in Ohio politics for decades. Read more »

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U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt’s Contenders

Posted by John Wellington Ennis

In the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision Citizens United vs. FEC allowing unlimited corporate spending on elections, I have been examining the challenges facing political newcomers running for office for my forthcoming film PAY 2 PLAY.

These profiles from the Ohio campaign trail are a chance for candidates to get their message out in a way they might not be able to otherwise, in consideration of the obstacles and considerable expense required to run for office. No endorsement is implied by the inclusion of any of the candidates in this series.

Democratic Primary for U.S. House of Representatives: Ohio’s 2nd District

This coming Tuesday, May 4th, Ohioans vote in their primary elections for national and statewide offices. Ohio has long been romanticized as a microcosm of America and a bellwether for national politics. Yet primary elections are a pivotal point in our democratic process, and it often goes ignored by the media and the public, even on the local level. Supporting a candidate early on can make a real impact, as money and momentum are much harder to come by before winning the nomination.

Ohio’s 2nd District is currently represented by Republican Jean Schmidt, first elected in 2005 in a special election running against Paul Hackett, a race that drew national attention–Hackett, a Marine having just returned from Fallujah, ran as an anti-war Democrat. His narrow loss suggested that a reliably conservative district stretched across Southern Ohio could one day be in play for Democrats. While the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has eyed Rep. Schmidt’s House seat as vulnerable over the past election cycles, Schmidt has nonetheless survived.

This Democratic Primary brings three candidates who look to challenge Rep. Schmidt for her House seat. In the interest of providing an equitable platform, here are video introductions from the candidates, along with their websites, so that they can speak for themselves, without having to pay for it. Read more »

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