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plu·toc·ra·cy noun \plü-ˈtä-krə-sē\ : 

government by the richest people : 

a country that is ruled by the richest people : 

a group of very rich people who have a lot of power 

~ Merriam-Webster 


The Supreme Court’s latest terrible decision in McCutcheon v. FEC took away the spending limits individuals can influence/bribe politicians with. We officially have a government of the crooks, by the crooks, for the highest bidders. Half of these crooks don’t want to see anyone cast another bothersome vote. You are serfs, that pray you don’t get thrown from the land call home after working for a pittance and degrading yourself in a food service economy. We are ruled by the nobility, warped by the clergy, and you are now in a class of idiots to be oppressed for profit. Step 1: We need to put progress back in progressive. So let’s talk about how to get out of this mess. The first step is admit this system is obsolete. Say it with me, “I declare this government is obsolete.” We can no longer do anything other than raise debt and get in to wars. Most of us don’t drive a car that is more than 12 years old. Why do we depend on a system of government that is older than any other technology we would use today? We need to amend it, … a lot. I know people love the Constitution, but which part? Is it the preamble? That doesn't count. Can we consider abolishing the electoral college? The Constitution is no more than an instruction book for our system of government. Everyone is sick of Congress these days, limit the terms, create more members of Congress to decentralize the power. We need to regain our representation as constituents. So let’s consider some ideas outside the box, but how do we take action on them … ? Well it just so happens the founding fathers knew this would happen. Inside the Constitution in Article V, there is this handy tool, “a convention to propose amendments”. Hallelujah!! 


Step 2: 

Congratulations, you have made it to step 2. Ok, you know you need amendments and you want a convention to propose them. 

How do we trigger it? It takes 34 states to request one. 

How many states have applied for this convention? All of them 

So how many are left? None 

Why hasn’t a convention been called? Please refer to step 1 above. 


Congressman Duncan D. Hunter from California just asked Speaker Boehner how many states have applied for a convention to consider a balanced budget amendment? No one knows for sure, because no one ever counted before. I know this for a fact because I made a similar request of both houses of Congress in April last year and this is the one year anniversary of Congress’ attempt to count to 34. Those requests are still stuck in the Judiciary Committees of both Houses of Congress, it is long story. I also turned in 42 states that appear to have legal standing applications for such a convention and they haven’t told me any of them don’t count anymore. 


These requests were entered in the Congressional record for both houses and remain unanswered. However the more people who know about this obstruction by Congress, the harder it will be for them to ignore the calls from state legislatures. 


Congressional Record Entries: 

[Page: S6204] POM-120. A communication from citizens of the State of Hawaii petitioning for verification and tabulation of State applications for an Article V Convention; to the Committee on the Judiciary. 



PETITIONS, ETC. 

Under clause 3 of rule XII, 55. The SPEAKER presented a petition of Dan Marks, Hilo, HI, relative to a letter regarding methods for proposing amendments; which was referred to the committee on the Judiciary. 


Somehow last week the State of Michigan determined they were now the 34th state to apply for a convention. However, Congress isn’t counting. The official count is still zero. So what do you do? Say it with me, “We demand our convention, NOW.” That is great, keep saying that. That is what you need to do, and soon they will hear all of you. It is a power of legislatures as much as it is “the right of the people to alter or to abolish”. We act through our legislatures to apply for a convention. Inform politicians it is your desire to have a convention and you need them to apply on your behalf. This is not your case to make for a legislator to make a judgment, there is a slightly different dynamic here. You are not lobbying for legislation. It might seem over simplistic to think of it from that perspective but you are exercising a right that already exists, not asking them to see it your way. 


"Reviewing the history of the Article V Convention alternative, the record of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 clearly demonstrated the founders’ original intent. During the convention, they agreed that a second mode of amendment was needed to balance the grant of amendatory power to Congress. This method, clearly identified in Article V as co-equal to congressional proposal of amendments, empowered the people, acting through their state legislatures, to summon a convention that would have equal authority to propose an amendment or amendments, which would then be presented to the states for ratification."
The Article V Convention for Proposing Constitutional Amendments: Historical Perspectives for Congress
Thomas H. Neale

Step 3:
Now you might think you have this thing figured out but stay engaged and keep talking to people about what proposals are appealing or a bad ideas. The urgency of the issues of the day will be the discussion of the conventions. Stop thinking in terms of ideological agendas and find out where we agree with those on the right. Do we agree our government spends too much? So it is a matter of how we regulate that spending. I have a long list of things that I would love to see the US stop spending so much money on too. Let’s find out where we agree. 


"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. I can not be ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the National Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor rather than oppose a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it. I will venture to add that to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others, not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish to either accept or refuse."

The Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln 

Delivered March 4, 1861 


The time to act is now, we are ready to push this through as Americans. Stand up or the opinions of future generations of Americans will mean nothing more than those of cattle.

Dan Marks · Apr 7

Use your phone's keypad: <br>

1 - get on stack <br>

2 - twinkle (agree) <br>

3 - twinkle downward (disagree) <br>

4 - direct response <br>

5 - point of process or technical assistance needed <br>

Dan Marks · Jan 14

Video: Tar Sands Pipeline Threatens US Water Supply; Enbridge Violations
http://youtu.be/CEPmAo1frqs

Enbridge / Tar Sands oil spill in SW Michigan poses a threat to residents and has killed off virtually all life along the Kalamazoo River. Chris Wahmhoff of Occupy Kalamazoo and MICATS talks with Dan Marks ofArticleV.org about how that spill is still impacting their lives. Systemic change is too slow to combat the demand for environmental triage facing people in and around Michigan.

—————-

Report about the orange substance:
http://grangehallpress.com/Enbridgeblog/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/VNNO-005635.pdf

—————-

BREAKING: MI CATS “GIVE THANKS” TO ENBRIDGE AT THEIR OFFICE IN MARSHALL, MI
By jackiews

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands “Gives Thanks” to Enbridge at their Office in Marshall, MI

Airing their grievances and demanding they be addressed, MI CATS members held a demonstration at the Enbridge office in Marshall

Marshall, Mich. — In solidarity with all those whose voices and experiences have been denied, folks with the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) are visiting Enbridge, an energy company based in Calgary, Alberta, in their Marshall, MI office this morning to “give thanks” to Enbridge for all the damage and devastation they have caused. MI CATS is maintaining a physical presence at the office while simultaneously generating phone calls to Enbridge, calling them out for the damage they have caused to communities worldwide.

Among many things, MI CATS cited the 2010 Kalamazoo tar sands oil spill, which occurred despite years of warning signs of decay documented by Enbridge. This spill was the largest inland oil spill in history and is still sickening and killing residents that live in communities along the river, a reality that Enbridge continuously denies. The group also cited the this same pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 5 tar sands pipeline, both whose capacity is currently being doubled despite Enbridge’s horrible company track record of over 800 spills in the past decade.

“We are seeing the continuation of ongoing health issues. We are seeing health issues worsening and are still asking for health studies”, says Marshall resident Michelle Barlond-Smith. Many residents impacted by the spill are wondering why Enbridge is allowed to build a new and larger pipeline while the oil from the 2010 spill is still far from cleaned up.

The Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands stands in steadfast solidarity with all of the human and non-human residents of these affected communities as well as First Nations peoples who have been victims to Enbridge’s predatory business plans since their inception.

During a time when folks are giving thanks for family and food, MI CATS took action today to recognize all of the death and destruction dealt to communities and ecosystems worldwide by Enbridge. Furthermore, we are “giving thanks” to acknowledge the failure of state and federal agencies to hold Enbridge accountable for the irresponsible and catastrophic actions.

The Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) seeks to unite the people of Michigan towards a common goal of stopping all transportation and refining of tar sands oil in the state and advocating against the production/transportation of tar sands everywhere.

###

Contacts:
Liz Starke,
Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands Spokesperson,
[email protected], 616-212-7443
Chris Wahmhoff,
Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands Spokesperson (on site), 269-910-6495

Dan Marks · Nov 30 '13
On April 22nd, 2013 our requestfor official tabulation and verification of Article 5 constitutional convention applications from state legislatures arrived in the Clerk of US House of Representatives office.    The request was prescribed by Tom Wickham the US House Parliamentarian in early April 2013 in a phone conversation with myself, because there was a lack of process to submit a request and there is no official number or way to determine which states have applied for an article V and which have not according to federal offices. 

Parliamentarian Tom Wickham said,"We will, we have a duty to examine them well. We will give you an opinion on whether they reach the level"
... "just like Congressional Research Service, we just next would go down to a, for lack of a better word, a circle of geeks. There's no political presence litmus test being applied at all at that point. What we do is look at it in terms of the precedence."   The response from the Clerks office, legal advisor Kirk Boyle admitted that Congress never counted any of the applications,
"The Clerk has not been assigned the responsibility to tabulate State applications for an Article V convention by statute or the rules or precedents of the House. Accordingly, the Office of the Clerk is unable to fulfill your request. However, I would be pleased to forward your correspondence to your Member of  Congress or to the Committee on the Judiciary for further consideration if that would be of assistance to you. Under the rules of the House, the Committee on the Judiciary has jurisdiction over constitutional amendments and has a subcommittee dedicated to the Constitution."
  I instructed the Clerk of House to forward the request to the House Judiciary Committee as they suggested and added: "Since the letter you sent to me also reveals that Congress never counted any of the applications that date back to 1789 and as recent as 2013, it is possible that the answer may reveal an ongoing obstruction of a peremptory constitutional process. Because of this I would ask you to officially notify the President and Vice President of the United States, as chief enforcement officers of the Constitution. I believe their awareness of this situation is required."   The Clerk of House, Karen Haas forwarded the requestto the Speaker of the House, John Boehner's office where the Speaker of the House presented it to the Judiciary Committee for review.  It was entered in the Congressional Record here on Page 3.    We can confirm that the White House was not informed of this as I asked.    The Senate side went faster. I sent a similar letter to Elizabeth McDonough the Senate Parliamentarian in July of 2013.  She entered the request in the Congressional Record on August 1st, 2013 and sent the request on to the Judiciary Committee where is it waiting to be scheduled on the calendar.  That entry reads [Page: S6204] POM-120. A communication from citizens of the State of Hawaii petitioning for verification and tabulation of State applications for an Article V Convention; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
At this point we need to make sure the American people and state authorities are aware of this action.  That awareness has the power to keep them honest and make sure this is dealt with transparency and in an appropriate manner. 

The popularity of Mark Levin's Book Liberty Amendments gives the impression that conservative think tanks may somehow hold a convention restricted to their agenda and keep the people out of the process and refuse to allow an election of delegates.  Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte may like that point of view.  That is
not the case however. 
In one of Thomas Jefferson's letters in 1816 he wrote: This corporeal globe, and everything upon it, belong to its present corporeal inhabitants, during their generation. They alone have a right to direct what is the concern of themselves alone, and to declare the law of that direction; and this declaration can only be made by their majority. That majority, then, has a right to depute representatives to a convention, and to make the constitution what they think will be the best for themselves.”

I need to solicit the assistance of the fourth estate to ensure that our government does not avoid it’s peremptory duty and change the rules while the game is being played.  The only way to make sure that our democratic process stays unadulterated is to focus the spotlight on their actions before they are made.  I need your help to get the word out.  


Article V Information

[Page: S6204]
POM-120. A communication from citizens of the State of Hawaii petitioning for verification and tabulation of State applications for an Article V Convention; to the Committee on the Judiciary.  http://articlev.org/oxwall/ow_userfiles/plugins/groupfiles/congressionalrecord-pp64-highlighted.pdf

&

PETITIONS, ETC.

Under clause 3 of rule XII,
55. The SPEAKER presented a petition of Dan Marks, Hilo, HI, relative to a letter regarding methods for proposing amendments; which was referred to the committee on the Judiciary.
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2013-10-24/pdf/CREC-2013-10-24.pdf

The Constitution also authorizes a national convention, when two-thirds of the states petition Congress for such a convention, to propose amendments, which would also have to be ratified by three-quarters of the states.
http://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm#a5
----------------- The Paper Trail
Letters to/from Congress in chronological order:
http://articlev.org/oxwall/ow_userfiles/plugins/groupfiles/Letter%20to%20Clerk.pdf
http://articlev.org/oxwall/ow_userfiles/plugins/groupfiles/clerk-reply.pdf ****
http://articlev.org/oxwall/ow_userfiles/plugins/groupfiles/SenateBinder1.pdf
http://articlev.org/oxwall/ow_userfiles/plugins/groupfiles/letter-to-clerk-2-signed.pdf
http://articlev.org/oxwall/ow_userfiles/plugins/groupfiles/congressionalrecord-pp64-highlighted.pdf
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2013-10-24/pdf/CREC-2013-10-24.pdf ---------------------

What is an Article V Convention?
The only direct way citizens can propose amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

Why should America do this?
Such a convention, an institution unto itself, is our brightest hope towards bringing about these changes.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution reads
"THE CONGRESS … ON THE APPLICATION OF THE LEGISLATURES OF TWO THIRDS OF THE SEVERAL STATES, SHALL CALL A CONVENTION FOR PROPOSING AMENDMENTS …"
----------------------------
Additional:
"(2) the term “election” means—
(E) the election of delegates to a constitutional convention for proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States or of any State; and"
http://www.fec.gov/law/feca/feca.pdf
-----------------------------

With well over a century of experience in proposing an Article V Convention, the states have arrived at certain precedents for the consideration of these applications."
The Article V Convention for Proposing 
Constitutional Amendments: Historical 
Perspectives for Congress 
Thomas H. Neale 
Specialist in American National Government 
Congressional Research Service Report R42592
October 22, 2012
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42592.pdf
---------------------
  Michigan Can Lead the Way: Michigan Constitutional Convention

Documentary on the Michigan Constitutional Convention of 1961-1962.

http://vimeo.com/2563977

 

--------------------

United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. page 716 (1931), the Supreme Court stated: 

"The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them."

My recent session with David Cobb of Move to Amend at the Democracy Convention in Madison 8/2013
Part 1 - - David Cobb - Article V Constitutional Convention: A Blessing or a Curse? 
http://youtu.be/60ZrEz8yCbE
Part 2 - - Dan Marks - Article V Constitutional Convention: A Blessing or a Curse?
http://youtu.be/Oq-Xwvd1aMs

-----------------
The entire collection of recorded applications
http://articlev.org/map/
Dan Marks · Nov 6 '13
By: Daniel Marks Tuesday April 30, 2013 3:35 pm

Since the very beginning of our nation’s history, our states have applied for a convention to propose amendments under Article V of the Constitution. It requires two-thirds of the states to apply for Congress to call it. Congress never has, yet the states keep applying. In fact, states have applied for a convention more than 700 times. The power Congress holds over the states in this effort is the ability to ignore the applications. For the first time in US history, We are making Congress count the applications.  The emperor wears no clothes.

On April 22nd, a certified letter arrived at the Clerk of US House of Representatives office that read:

Karen Lehman Haas
Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives
Office of the Clerk
U.S. Capitol, Room H154,
Washington , DC 20515-6601

04/15/13

Subject: Requesting verification and tabulation of State applications for an Article V convention to propose amendments.

Greetings Ms. Haas,

I spoke with Kirk Boyle in your office and Tom Wickham, House Parliamentarian, and have been instructed to deliver this information to the Clerk of the House of Representatives. I am providing you with the attached documentation of 42 legal and standing State applications for an Article V convention for determination of their validity. The collection of all known applications on record may be found here:http://foavc.org/file.php/1/Amendments

We, involved with ArticleV.org, acknowledge the fact that the States have satisfied the required two-thirds numerical threshold to call for an Article V Convention under Article V of the US Constitution and Congress should call an Article V Convention to order. We make formal request for the Clerk of House of Representatives to verify and inform Congress of this matter.

The Congressional Research Service arrived at a similar conclusion. “With well over a century of experience in proposing an Article V Convention, the states have arrived at certain precedents for the consideration of these applications.” from the Congressional Research Service Report by Thomas H. Neale, The Article V Convention for Proposing Constitutional Amendments: Historical Perspectives for Congress, October 22, 2012. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42592.pdf

Those advocating for an Article V Convention from various groups often find ourselves in debate about what the current count is today. As the Congressional Research Service pointed out, there has never been an official tabulation to indicate which state applications would be valid toward the two-thirds threshold, and which would not. We truly desire an official verification and tabulation of these applications and any others we may have overlooked so there is an official number we may all reference.

Thank you for your time and diligence in this matter.

Dan Marks
ArticleV.org

Bill Walker Co-Founder of FOAVC.org wrote about this action in his piece this week:

“Under House rules (Rule II, 2(b) and Rule VII ) the clerk of the House is responsible for providing any reports required by law to be made to Congress. This of course includes a report listing the number of applying states requesting a convention call. The “law” in question is Article V of the Constitution. The procedure for recording applications was established on May 5, 1789 and has remained unchanged. Therefore, according to House rules, the record is public domain as it has existed over 30 years. Under House rules the clerk is considered the “custodian” of all records of the House of Representatives including state applications for a convention call.”

By my count it appears there are 42 states with standing legal applications for an Article V convention. Since the threshold today is 34 states, we have plenty of wiggle room. The point of the action is not to be “correct” about how many states have applied.  The action we are taking should produce an official number. If we are at 32 states instead of 42, that is fine with me. We will know what counts as an application to the federal government, and whatever states may remain in the “not applied” column can be added quickly. This is a fundamental step in the effort. We need to know where we are starting from if we are going to be successful.

We hope to open the doors of government to the people. We will have a chance to control our own destinies. Knowing this event could be imminent gives us time to begin to build consensus around proposals and drive the agenda before the convention assembles. Those who fear the Koch Industries showing up, relax. Of course someone from Koch will be there. But, they won’t get far. There is no bad idea that is clever enough to make it through convention or Congress and get ratified by 38 states. Keep in mind that the Defense of Marriage Act and the ERA were not able to clear that hurdle. It is really hard to ratify amendments. The convention is merely a place to originate these ideas for states to consider. Big money can only obstruct good things from happening.

Please support this request for an official tally of applications by the Clerk of the House of Representatives. You may write a letter in support to the address above or contact the Clerk’s office by phone at (202) 225-7000. We have a real chance to choose what kind of nation we will be for the next 200 years.  It is time to roll up our sleeves and get serious or We the People will blow it.

Dan Marks · May 25 '13 · Rate: 5 · Comments: 3


By: Daniel Marks Saturday May 18, 2013 4:53 pm 


We need to come to grips with the futility of our current efforts to put our government on the right course.  We are becoming serfs of a corporate oligarchy.  Our nation needs repair.  We need to remember what being American is all about.

The Problem: Our government is broken.

This point is obvious, we all understand that our government is unable to pay its own bills or pass meaningful legislation that can address the many problems that vex our nation.

Alexander Hamilton wrote, “As riches increase and accumulate in few hands, as luxury prevails in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard. This is the real disposition of human nature; it is what neither the honorable member nor myself can correct. It is a common misfortunate that awaits our State constitution, as well as all others.”

We have all seen the political gamesmanship that leads to lopsided wins for parties but even when each have great majorities, there is no progress. Now our government is evenly split between the two parties and still more of the same gridlock and inaction in a prolonged national economic crisis. They managed to make it worse by a self imposed sequestration that is quietly going to stick around.

The Solution: We the People are the answer.

Do not look to the President, Congress, or the Supreme Court to guide us out of the darkness. These institutions and governmental functions, though thoughtfully designed by our founders, have failed us. The reason? The ultimate check and balance to governmental power put into place by our founders has not been exercised… That is up to each of us.

As George Washington told us in his Farewell Address, “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, ’till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People is sacredly obligatory upon all.

When we talk about how to reverse Citizens United and regain our representation, the answers are not so obvious. Limiting political speech is very complex. Should we ban all political contributions from citizens and voters too? Some say we should while others say we should only ban corporations from contributing, but what about the unions?

There is no single person who is so brilliant that they know the answers to all of our problems. The solutions are not obvious and only We the People have the ability to determine what is right. We need to build consensus around these changes or they may backfire. This will not be easy, yet we cannot avoid the heavy lifting and we cannot shy away from uncertainty when our present course is so unsustainable and destructive.

The Method: An Article V convention to propose amendments

For those that have been educated about this method to circumvent Congress in a time such as this, most would consider this option unattainable. Sure, we have the convention clause in our Constitution but since we have never used it before, it will never happen, right? Wrong.

This corporeal globe, and everything upon it, belong to its present corporeal inhabitants, during their generation. They alone have a right to direct what is the concern of themselves alone, and to declare the law of that direction; and this declaration can only be made by their majority. That majority, then, has a right to depute representatives to a convention, and to make the constitution what they think will be the best for themselves.”
~ Thomas Jefferson, Letter To Samuel Kercheval – Monticello, July 12, 1816

We Are Already Making Progress.  We will soon find out how far from an Article V convention we really are. Through the years, there have been hundreds of State applications for an Article V convention. Now, for the first time in US history, those of us in the group ArticleV.org, have requested an official tabulationof state applications for an Article V convention. If the number of states is more than 34, the call from Congress to assemble a convention is mandatory under Article V of the Constitution. They have no choice; they cannot scuttle it to a committee or have an endless debate about it.

The Article V Convention process was designed and placed in our US Constitution this way because our forefathers knew that Congress could present a problem when states apply for the convention, particularly a congress gone out of control and otherwise unaccountable to the people. The Article V convention process is how our forefathers planned to ensure that the result of their work was better than what they started with, and that we the people would continue to have a voice in shaping and designing our government.

The Conclusion: An era of healing must begin.

Just because we assemble in a convention does not mean we are guaranteed success. We need to put aside our differences and come together as a nation. We cannot be successful if we sit down as one side of the political spectrum. There will be no progress if the Convention is Democrat vs. Republican or Tea Party vs Occupy, or Gay Rights Activists vs. religious fundamentalists. We need to understand that even those who are in the same groups are different. When we peel back layers of our differences, what remains is America.

We are brothers, friends, and patriots. When was the last time you heard any politician refer to America as a melting pot? We need to find that spirit which has made our nation so great and it begins with accepting each other as Americans. We need to begin to heal from decades of division and the pain of tragedies we have all experienced. We need to make this world livable for our grandchildren and their kids. America lost dignity in recent years and we are not the same nation we once were, but we are not helpless.

Dan Marks · May 23 '13 · Tags: article v
At the suggestion of United States House of Representatives Parliamentarian Tom Wickman, Dan Marks, of ArticleV.Org has sent a letter of inquiry to Karen Haas, Clerk for the United States House of Representatives. Read more...
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ArticleV.org
7 members
Article V of the U.S. Constitution
THE CONGRESS … ON THE APPLICATION OF THE LEGISLATURES OF TWO THIRDS OF THE SEVERAL STATES,
SHALL CALL A CONVENTION FOR PROPOSING AMENDMENTS …