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Pennsylvania officials banned alcohol sales at bars and restaurants on Thanksgiving Eve, traditionally one of the industry’s biggest nights of the year, as COVID-19 cases surge.

The Department of Health said Monday nearly 12,000 new cases emerged over the last 48 hours as hospitalizations for the virus exceed 3,300. Another 69 people died, bringing the statewide total to 9,870 since the first recorded case in early March. 

And forbidding bars and restaurants from selling drinks between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday will prevent more deaths, Gov. Tom Wolf said during a Monday news conference. He also advised residents to celebrate Thanksgiving with other household members only. 

 

The state-run Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores will remain open on Wednesday, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board spokesperson Shawn Kelly said.

“A number is not just a number," Wolf said. “It’s a person. A family member or a neighbor who gets sick or who dies. Sadly what the numbers show right now is that more people are getting sick at a faster rate than before.”

Test positivity for the last seven day period ending Nov. 19 reached 11.1 percent, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said, more than doubling the 5 percent rate that officials consider worrisome. As intensive care unit beds fill up, Levine said hospitals in strained regions must stop elective procedures once instructed to by the state. 

Modeling from Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington projects Pennsylvania could run out of ICU beds next month and that the death toll could exceed 32,000 by the last week of February.

So although the state’s economic restrictions have been arguably the toughest on bars and restaurants, Wolf said it’s a crucial element of saving lives.

“It's not me. It’s the virus,” he said. “It’s not the administration. It’s not the government. … Let’s acknowledge the reality. We’ve got to recognize that as tough as it is, it’s tougher when people die.”

The state also reminded school districts in 59 of the state’s counties with “substantial” levels of community spread about the guidance to transition to remote learning. Indoor gathering limits have been reduced further, with any event of more than 500 people banned. Enforcement of existing mandates, including universal masking, will be stepped up with fines up to $300 possible.

 

“We don’t want to trash the economy like we did in the spring,” Wolf said. “We don’t have any tentative steps to go back to that old March/April system.”

The aforementioned system shuttered all nonessential businesses for more than two months until health officials deemed that community transmission of the virus had reduced to safer levels in different regions of the state. But the administration insists the state won’t return to these color-coded red, yellow and green phases of shutdown again.

Still, House Republicans criticized the governor for imposing restrictions on residents instead of trusting them to take precautions on their own. The majority party has been vocal about the administration’s unwillingness to work with them on mitigation measures since the pandemic hit last spring.

“While Pennsylvanians prepare to go Black Friday shopping at big box retailers unrestricted by new orders from Gov. Wolf, bars and restaurants are going to be left to languish under more onerous limitations on their ability to do business during what should be a robust holiday season,” said Jason Gottesman, spokesperson for the House Republican Caucus. “Pennsylvanians are currently policing their own activity during the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases. What they do not need during this unprecedented holiday season is the heavy hand of government forcing them to do that which they have been doing on their own accord for months.”

Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, said the order banning Thanksgiving Eve alcohol sales came as no surprise. And he says the association’s members understand and appreciate their role in saving lives, as well as the administration’s new liability protections for owners enforcing mask mandates.

“But what we don’t get is why there has been no significant financial help to assist our small business taverns and licensed restaurants survive,” he said. “As this crisis continues, more small businesses are closing while their employees lose jobs.”

A survey conducted by the association in August extrapolated the alarming condition of the industry, with seven in 10 respondents indicating they would close by 2021 without a change in the state’s limits on indoor dining capacity and alcohol sales. More than two-thirds experienced cash flow problems caused by the pandemic restrictions.

The survey of 100 licensed restaurants and bars found 13 percent closed already, with 29 percent set to close by December. More than 109,200 employees have been laid off, the association estimates.

Wolf said he continues to support federal and state relief for restaurants and bars. He signed a seven-month budget plan on Monday that used the remaining $1.3 billion in CARES Act money – aid that could’ve funded and industrywide relief, according to many Democrats – to balance the state’s $3 billion deficit, leaving it unclear when or if establishments will see any stimulus at all.

“Help is needed now, not later,” Moran said. “Many small businesses cannot sustain continued targeted mitigation without help from either the federal or state government.”

Christen Smith

The Center Square

This week, on 11-11-2020, Armando’s Day Spa celebrated its 20 year Anniversary... Not an easy feat on Fort Myers Beach, as the past two decades have seen a significant change in the landscape as well as the coming and going of many, many businesses.

It all started with Hurricane Charlie in 04', which though a diverting from a direct hit on the beach was still the first devastating natural disaster to hit our shore in over 20 years, strangely enough with the influx of all the insurance money that poured into the area causing a real estate boom in the area.... setting for the crash years later. then the BP oil spill in the panhandle, the real the bubble bursting in the estate market, multiple red tides with the worst in recent decades just a few years ago, ruining the next few years of tourism and then............. this year when season finally looked like it was shaping up as a season of good times ago... the pandemic, Covid - 19. strikes ........and everything comes to a screeching halt.

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Nonetheless, Armando's still prevailed, with an understanding landlord Fred DePalma, who worked with them through those troubled times and a lot of loans, they survived. "For now, we still have to see how this pandemic plays out" added Owner Bobby Armando, as many friends and clients call him.

I asked the owner what he thinks makes his spa special. He said " I bore easily, this massage is always different, before massage, all my life I tried anything and everything work wise, I would always get to a point in whichever job I was in and say to myself 'really? This is what you want to do for the rest of your life?' Sometimes that was on the first day, sometimes it was a week, maybe two or longer, but always before I was at a job for two years I would have that thought and move on to another job adventure, I re­member one job, in my early years, I never returned from lunch on my first day. But not with Massage!

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"Massage is never boring, I could have 3 clients in a row that all have the same complaints, let's say for instance they all tell me on their intake form that they have lower back issues and Sciatica on the left side, .... even though they are all saying the same thing, each massage will be different due to multiple variables, are they skinny, or not, tall, short, what illnesses are they also dealing with..... what is their line of work, are they a hairdresser or dental tech. who have their arms up all day... are they a cashier who scan items all day with one hand, or are they on the computer 8 hours a day? What other repetitive things are they doing in their job or home life? .........Although there will be similarities, It's always different, each client is a new puzzle we have to figure out."

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" I was an instructor of Massage Therapy for over 14 years," he continued, "teaching at "The Academy" and at "Sunstate" both here in Fort Myers. I knew how receiving Massage training changed my life and I wanted to be able do that for others, in that time I trained over 1,200 students, I'm very proud of that, also It gave me the opportunity to personally select therapist who were passionate about what we do... We have a wonderful, caring and loyal staff.... and we want to be sure that when you come in, you agree with the great reviews you read on line about us.... I like that.... it keeps us on our toes to make sure we do a great job with each client!"

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The owner then added "To celebrate our 20th Anniversary, we will be holding a 'previous customer'. 'potential new customer' and 'staff' appreciation party, it will be held in the early afternoon at the Bayfront Bistro at Snook Bight Marina located at 4765 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 3393, Behind the Beach Publix,
We were planning to have it next week.

Unfortunately due to Tropical Storm ETA the final details were not able to be worked out, at this point.... it will be probably be during the first week of December.”

We will provide great food prepared by Chef Oscar, various appetizers and attendees will be able to receive a Free additional $25 Gift Certificate for every $100 Gift Certificate purchased at the event. Look for the date of the party to be announced in the next issue of the paper, and on our Facebook page.

I also had a chance to speak with spa manager, Colleen LoRae, an Esthetician and Massage Therapist, I asked her what makes Armando's Special...

"One of the things that makes Armando's really special is the way we approach each massage and try to understand and assess each client's needs and customize each session, incorporating a whole body approach. No two clients are alike and neither are our massages or facials. " 

"We approach each session very scientifically and use all our skills and all the tools in our tool box as needed. From table warmers to loosen up the back muscles, aromatherapy to stimulate the senses, stretching to get the body back to its normal balance, the ancient knowledge of reflexology, hot towels, hot stones, relaxing music.... all of it ... focused on making this person, this body .... better. We approach each massage the same way we approach each facial .... we custom tailor the treatment to suit this client's needs."

"The other huge benefit to the client is that they don't have to decide exactly what kind of massage they want and they don't have to guess at what they need based on the treatment they may have received at other spas. We are professionals and we approach each massage as if it is the most important massage we will ever do."

"My favorite part about working at Armando's is that our clients come back to us again and again and we have an opportunity to build a rapport with them and get to know them and their needs and preferences."

"Our clients are like family to us. And at Armando's we work as a team. There is no competition. We are all on the same team and are there to serve our clients. And because we are a team, we're there for the long-term and our clients can request their regular therapist or esthetician. At some of the larger spas, they may never see the same person twice because spa policy or huge therapist turn over."

"I love that we are a specialty day spa." she continued, "We are great at what we do and we don't try to offer so many services, knowing that we can't be great at all of them. We limit our services to massages, facials, body waxing, body treatments, Lipo Melt weight loss and detoxing the body. We do not offer hair or nails services but we are always happy to make referrals to quality salons in our area that do."

"We are unique and that is a huge part of what makes us special. It is also a huge part of what makes us so successful. We love our clients and our clients love us. Our online reviews are living proof of that."

So even if you've never been there before, pencil  in on your  calendar as soon as we announce the date........ for this Anniversary Party and meet these nice people who work and those who visit Armando's Day Spa.

Armado’s is located at 2101 Estero Blvd. F M Beach, Fl 33931 and you can reach them at : 239-565-0282.

 

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I hope this message finds you well in 2020. As you know, Covid-19 has canceled a lot of events this year, including the Beach Kids Foundation's Annual Spirit of the Holiday Dinner Auction Fundraiser that we partner with our Fort Myers Beach Firefighters to put on every year. We are still collecting donations (monetary and toys) to fill Santa's Sleigh this year so our local kids and families can still get a Covid19-Safe visit from Santa being chauffeured by our amazing firefighters again this year, as well as making sure our kids and their families have food on the table this holiday season, and the whole year through.

Please view the QR Code or the below link to watch a video from our Beach Kids Foundation President Linda Beasley, Ms. Renee from Beach Elementary School and Executive Assistant Fire Chief Ron Martin.

Beach Kids Foundation Spirit of the Holiday Video 2020sm

As always, your donation to our 501c3 Non-Profit Beach Kids Foundation is tax deductible. We thank you in advance for your donation that can be mailed to:

Beach Kids Foundation
2801 Estero Blvd. Suite B
Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

Toys can be dropped off at the Red Coconut RV Park, the Fort Myers Beach Fire Station #31 (Estero/Donora) or you can always call us for a Covid19-safe pick up!

For questions, please call Linda Beasley at (239) 980-0661 or Deborah Groll at (239) 850-6322

Thank you for your continued support of our island kids and families!
The Beach Kids Foundation Board and Volunteers all wish you and yours a very Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

Tracey Gore
Fort Myers Beach

Mr. President, there's only one way to win this now. You need proof. Hard evidence. And
witnesses who participated in the robbery.

You need to create a new reality show, "Who Wants to Be an Instant Democratic Millionaire ... and Get Full Immunity?"

That's one hell of a reality show title. That offer will be a game changer. That offer will change America's future. That offer will save capitalism. That offer will save the Silent Majority and the great American middle class.

I'll explain the details of that offer in a moment. But first ...

Three weeks ago, I made an interesting prediction on my national radio show and my social media pages. I predicted President Donald Trump would win a huge electoral victory on election night; Democrats would try to steal it away from him; we'd spend weeks or months in court and eventually wind up at the Supreme Court; we'd suffer mass unrest and riots during one of the most tough, divisive periods in America's history; and then, finally, Trump would win the presidency with a Supreme Court ruling, led by our newest hero and champion of conservatism, Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Let's look at the first part of my prediction. Trump did win an election-night electoral landslide -- before Democrats apparently stole it with massive fraud in key states, in the middle of the night. As of Nov. 3, Trump seemed to have won Florida, Ohio, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and the Midwestern states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. What more do you want from the guy? Isn't that an electoral landslide? How can any Republican lose with that hand?

Plus, Trump received about 70 million votes. That's the most in history. Trump added a remarkable 8 million new votes since his victory in 2016. What more can a man do?

But he was never going to win. Not with 80 million votes, not with 90 million, not with 100 million. You name the number. It was never going to matter. Not with possible Democrat voter fraud, ballot harvesting, mail-in ballots and deadlines allowed well past Election Day. Trump and the GOP never had a chance. Not if you play it straight and the other guys are crooked.

Remember the movie "Casino"? The mafia was alone in the "count rooms" of casinos. It's no shocker the IRS got paid very little. The mafia were the only ones allowed in the room. Everyone else got screwed.

This is the political version of casino count rooms. Except these are "vote count rooms." And the Democrat Crime Family is allegedly the only one allowed in the room, which would mean they can make up any number of votes they want, with no one watching.

Just like the mafia, they do all their best work in the dark, in the middle of the night, when honest people are sleeping. They steal entire states. Now they've stolen an entire country.

Back to my solution. We can still win. But there's only one way for Trump to beat them. It's all about the Benjamins. It's all about greed. It's all about the carrot versus the stick. There's no other way to win at the Supreme Court except to bring hard evidence that the election was stolen by Democrats.

The only way to get that is to bring witnesses to testify, who participated in the scam and know explicit details.

Trump must offer $1 million each to the first 100 Democrat participants in the stealing of the election who come forward. We'll create 100 instant Democrat millionaires for hard evidence, photos, videos and testimony that leads to a Supreme Court decision overturning this election.

Along with $1 million to each of 100 witnesses, they each also receive full Department of Justice immunity. But if you don't come forward first, everyone else who participated is going to prison for life. Because the stealing of a presidency is treason.

Keep in mind $100 million is "chump change" to GOP billionaire donors. There's that much in loose change on any given Saturday night at Mar-a-Lago. Michael Bloomberg spent $100 million just to try to win Florida. What's $100 million for a group of GOP billionaire donors to ante up, in order to save America, American exceptionalism and capitalism?

Get Sheldon Adelson on speed dial.

Mr. President, do it now. This minute. Offer a reward so big it gets the media's attention and everyone's imagination. $100 million is good. Perhaps a quarter-billion is even better. The rats always desert sinking ships. The Demo-rats will come out of the woodwork to become instant millionaires. Plus, full DOJ immunity to testify where the bodies are buried.

Get busy, Mr. President. The clock is ticking. Time is short. You can't win at the Supremes unless you have hard evidence and testimony from the participants in the scam to steal the presidency.

Make the announcement. Scream it from the highest mountain. "Who Wants to Be an Instant Democrat Millionaire? And Get Full Immunity." Or go to prison for life. That's an offer no one can refuse.

Wayne Allyn Root

 

 

 

 

 

The historic Mound House, on Fort Myers Beach and one of Southwest Florida’s most iconic historic attractions, traces its roots back to the ancient Calusa of over 2,000 years ago! The oldest standing structure on Estero Island, the Mound House features the innovative and unique archaeological underground exhibit that showcases the Calusa Indian Shell Mound, along with a multitude of artifacts and a gorgeous location on the scenic Estero Bay, with almost 3 acres of manicured grounds ideal for a leisurely stroll.

In addition to the Mound House, the site provides an array of outdoor nature and education programs for families and visitors of all ages, including children, complete with Center for Disease Control (CDC) precautions. The Mound House, at 451 Connecticut Street with overflow parking at 216 Connecticut, is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All visitors must wear masks, with CDC and Social Distancing guidelines in place. For more information and a program schedule, call 239-765-0865 or visit www.moundhouse.org.

The Mound House, operated by the Town of Fort Myers Beach as a museum complex, offers numerous educational programs each month, including the exploration of the 2,000-year-old Calusa Indian Shell Mound, beach walks, and kayak eco-tours. Mound House admission is $10 for ages 13 & up, $8 for students with IDs, $5 ages 6 to 12, and 5 & under free, with Town residents receiving a 50% discount.

Friday, November 13: “Sunset Kayak Tour”: Ages 12 & up, weather permitting, at 3:30 p.m.

People travel from all over the nation and world to marvel at Fort Myers Beach sunsets, but not many get to do so by kayak! In addition to catching a breathtaking sunset, explore the tidal creeks and winding mangrove tunnels that extend into the hidden backwaters of Estero Bay while experiencing the estuary’s abundant wildlife in the quiet of twilight in accordance with the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism guidelines. The Mound House provides all paddling and safety equipment, with Center for Disease Control and Social Distancing in place; all participants must wear masks on land. $45-per-person; Mound House Members $15; a maximum of 8 paddlers per tour, with private group tours available.

Saturday, November 14: “Mangroves by Kayak Tour”: Ages 12 & up weather permitting at 9 a.m.

Explore the winding mangrove creeks and hidden waters of the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve as only a kayaker can on this Environmental Educator-guided tour of the ancient realm of the Calusa! Witness birds, fish, manatee and dolphins as you paddle through the natural beauty of Estero and Hell Peckney Bays in a tandem kayak. All paddling & safety equipment provided, with kayak tours in accordance with Florida Society of Ethical Ecotourism guidelines. $45-per-person including Mound House admission; Mound House members $15. Advance reservations necessary; private tours available. CDC and Social Distancing guideline in place & all participants must wear a mask on land. 8 paddlers per tour.

Saturday, November 14: “Shell Mound” Outside Guided Tour, all ages; 11 a.m.

If you dig archaeology, this program is for you! Tour the 2,000-year-old Calusa Indian Shell Mound led by the Mound House Interpretive Staff as you explore the archaeology of the site while unearthing the clues archaeologists discovered about this ancient society. All participants over the age of 6 must wear a mask. $5-per-person that does not include the Mound House admission; Mound House members free.

Tuesday, November 17: FREE “Newton Beach Park Guided Beach Walk”: All ages weather permitting at 9 a.m.

This twice-weekly free outdoor nature program is different every single time, as the “Guided Beach Walks” have a simple premise – the groups walk roughly a half-mile down the beach and back, discussing whatever you find that particular morning, with the wind and waves dictating what comes up each day. Meet at the thatched hut closest to the beach, with CDC and Social Distancing in place and face masks mandatory. In addition to your face mask, bring sunscreen, shoes to get wet, sunglasses, and hat if necessary. No reservations necessary; while free, parking is $3-per-hour, with one hour generally enough. Newton Beach Park is mid-island at 4650 Estero Boulevard.

Tuesday, November 17: “Shell Mound” Outside Guided Tour, all ages; 11 a.m.

If you dig archaeology, this program is for you! Tour the 2,000-year-old Calusa Indian Shell Mound led by the Mound House Interpretive Staff as you explore the archaeology of the site while unearthing the clues archaeologists discovered about this ancient society. All participants over the age of 6 must wear a mask. $5-per-person that does not include the Mound House admission; Mound House members free.

Wednesday, November 18: “Mangroves by Kayak Tour”: Ages 12 & up weather permitting at 9 a.m.

Explore the winding mangrove creeks and hidden waters of the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve as only a kayaker can on this Environmental Educator-guided tour of the ancient realm of the Calusa! Witness birds, fish, manatee and dolphins as you paddle through the natural beauty of Estero and Hell Peckney Bays in a tandem kayak. All paddling & safety equipment provided, with kayak tours in accordance with Florida Society of Ethical Ecotourism guidelines. $45-per-person; Mound House members $15. Advance reservations necessary; private tours available. CDC and Social Distancing guideline in place & all participants must wear a mask on land. 8 paddlers per tour.

Thursday, November 19: FREE “Newton Beach Park Guided Beach Walk”: All ages weather permitting at 9 a.m.

This twice-weekly free outdoor nature program is different every single time, as the “Guided Beach Walks” have a simple premise – the groups walk roughly a half-mile down the beach and back, discussing whatever you find that particular morning, with the wind and waves dictating what comes up each day. Meet at the thatched hut closest to the beach, with CDC and Social Distancing in place and face masks mandatory. In addition to your face mask, bring sunscreen, shoes to get wet, sunglasses, and hat if necessary. No reservations necessary; while free, parking is $3-per-hour, with one hour generally enough. Newton Beach Park is mid-island at 4650 Estero Boulevard.

Thursday, November 19: “Shell Mound” Outside Guided Tour, all ages; 11 a.m.

If you dig archaeology, this program is for you! Tour the 2,000-year-old Calusa Indian Shell Mound led by the Mound House Interpretive Staff as you explore the archaeology of the site while unearthing the clues archaeologists discovered about this ancient society. All participants over the age of 6 must wear a mask. $5-per-person that does not include the Mound House admission; Mound House members free.

Gary Mooney

The law states that all votes being counted must be observed by both parties equally. If votes being counted are not observed equally, they are therefore, illegal and must be voided. Nothing more need be proven.

That means that all votes, voted in person must be counted, unless there is evidence that some are rigged. We saw how some voting machines can be rigged on National Television, by FOX however, knowing it’s possible and proving it was done, are two different matters. There must be evidence and there is!

For example, it is alleged that several voting machines in Michigan broke down, when they discovered Trump was running away with the votes…that stopped after the machines were fixed.

Also it’s alleged that ballots with ONLY Biden‘s name were found as counted ballots, 450,000 of them!

That type of evidence is devastating if true and sure is Probable Cause that there was corruption, Fraud!

So, in my opinion, a revote should take place in those last 5 or 6 States where there was cheating discovered, if that cheating has common factors. For example if the manner of cheating is common… if the time is common, if the lack of visibility is common…take your choice…then there must be a new vote…only in person, only with ID , only over 2 days, no leaks in count, and then tallied fairly, continuously with no mail in votes except only previously submitted Military votes.

If we believe, that process, is unfair, then we must also believe that the prohibition of equal ability to monitor the validity of the votes is unfair. If 190 million people voted in person and the results are for Trump or Biden that’s it, except for one thing Military votes, they are fighting to keep us safe and deserve special attention.

Military mail in votes are easier to recognize as most are allowed absentee ballots and most, not all, are mailed from overseas. That is easier to verify than 120,000 votes that were counted surreptitiously, at 3am, with no Republican observers.in several of the in question States, at 2,3,4 am with no Republican observers present!

That’s after the Democrat counters called a stop, closed up and reopened when no one was around, from the Republican side!.

Listen, folks, when I was an FBI Supervisor and working Agent, I went by the philosophy that too many coincidents make a fact! It worked every time. If the Democrats cheated and we can prove it, which we can, then they should have thought about what would happen when they got caught…well they got caught and there must be consequences. The consequences are a re-vote, not re-count, a re-vote with ID, and in-person. “What about the legal mail in vote… they and all the other mail in votes are gone.

Now try to do it honestly! If you want to vote again…follow the law or don’t show!

The evidence that there was cheating by the Democrat Vote counters is unquestionable. There is Probable Cause to obtain Search Warrants for all counting venues in all questioned States…so what is the AG waiting for…the Durham results? FBI Agents should have already confiscated all the ballots and envelopes THAT HAVEN”T BEEN DESTROYED. If they have, that’s more incriminating evidence that the election was unfair and unlawful. So if the envelopes were destroyed, accidentally, like Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails …that’s destruction of evidence that can

ONLY be remedied by a RE-VOTE in all of those states.

It is not necessary to prove that there was enough fraud to overthrow the election …only enough to show a concerted effort to corrupt the election for one person. There is only one way to see if the purported end result was corrupt and that is to revote …by the law this time with 2 days, in person only voting and fair and honest counting. NO MAIL IN Ballots except Military Absentee ballots. Period.

What’s the Democrats worried about if Biden won by such a great margin…do it again!

I believe in common sense. If 60% of hundreds of millions IN PERSON votes, vote Republican for the President, Trump, and the same for House and Senate races and the exact opposite happens for mail in votes…is that suspicious?

Just before the 2016 election, we saw on National news, probably FOX, an election official in some , I believe, mid-western state standing next to cases of voting ballots ,all filled out and ready to be processed through voting machines, some 25,000 pre-prepared votes, all for Hillary Clinton! Do we believe there was cheating by Clinton? I do, how about you?

If you heard a gunshot, heard your window break, ran outside and saw your neighbor standing there with a rifle and a spent brass casing at his feet and the barrel smoking…but you didn’t see him shoot…what do you believe…did he do it?

I’ve never been to the Sun, but I know it’s hot just as sure as I know that the election of Biden is illegal and very corrupt…in my opinion, there is no doubt! The question is can the President get a re-vote…there’s plenty of evidence?

therightsidejgarydilaura.com

gary small

J.Gary
DiLaura
FBI RED

Robots and their control software can be classified as a dynamical system, a mathematical model that describes the ever-changing internal states of something.

There is a class of dynamical system called high-dimensional chaos, which has attracted many researchers as it is a powerful way to model animal brains. However, it is generally hard to gain control over high-dimensional chaos owing to the complexity of the system parameters and its sensitivity to varying initial conditions, a phenomenon popularized by the term "butterfly effect." Researchers from the Intelligent Systems and Informatics Laboratory and the Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Research Center at the University of Tokyo explore novel ways for exploiting the dynamics of high-dimensional chaos to implement humanlike cognitive functions.

"There is an aspect of high-dimensional chaos called chaotic itinerancy (CI) which can explain brain activity during memory recall and association," said doctoral student Katsuma Inoue. "In robotics, CI has been a key tool for implementing spontaneous behavioral patterns. In this study, we propose a recipe for implementing CI in a simple and systematic fashion only using complicated time-series patterns generated by high-dimensional chaos. We felt our approach holds potential for more robust and versatile applications when it comes to designing cognitive architectures. It allows us to design spontaneous behaviors without any predefined explicit structures in the controller, which would otherwise serve as a hindrance."

Reservoir computing (RC) is a machine learning technique that builds on dynamical systems theory and provides the basis of the team's approach. RC is used to control a type of neural network called a recurrent neural network (RNN). Unlike other machine learning approaches that tune all neural connections within a neural network, RC only tweaks some parameters while keeping all other connections of an RNN fixed, which makes it possible to train the system faster. When the researchers applied principles of RC to a chaotic RNN, it exhibited the kind of spontaneous behavioral patterns they were hoping for.

For some time, this has proven a challenging task in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence. Furthermore, the training for the network takes place prior to execution and in a short amount of time.

"Animal brains yield high-dimensional chaos in their activities, but how and why they utilize chaos remains unexplained. Our proposed model could offer insight into how chaos contributes to information processing in our brains," said Associate Professor Kohei Nakajima. "Also, our recipe would have a broader impact outside the field of neuroscience since it can potentially be applied to other chaotic systems too. For example, next-generation neuromorphic devices inspired by biological neurons potentially exhibit high-dimensional chaos and would be excellent candidates for implementing our recipe. I hope we will see artificial implementations of brain functions before too long."

Science Daily
University of Tokyo

 Florida Republicans began the 2020 election cycle with a 23-17 majority in the state Senate, and they likely will enter the 2021 legislative session with that same advantage.

Twenty of the Senate's 40 seats were on Tuesday's ballot, and the makeup of the chamber will remain unchanged unless Republican challenger Ileana Garcia defeats incumbent Democrat Jose Javier Rodriguez after a recount in their Senate District 37 battle in Miami-Dade County.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Garcia had a 21-vote lead out of 215,411 ballots cast – 48.53% to 48.52% – over Rodriguez, one of the Senate’s most outspoken and respected Democrats.

 

Garcia, who served as deputy press secretary at the Department of Homeland Security under President Donald Trump and is the founder of Latinas For Trump, benefitted from a record Republican turnout in Miami-Dade County orchestrated by the Cuban community, while Democrats failed to fully mobilize anticipated votes from south Florida’s blue precincts.

Those two factors essentially gave Donald Trump Florida’s 29 electoral votes in a 3% statewide victory and cost Democrats two Miami-Dade congressional seats, two Democratic-held Miami-area seats in the state House and, possibly, one blue seat in the still-red state Senate.

Overall, Republicans flipped five House seats and will head into the 2021 legislative session with at least a 78-42 advantage in the lower chamber and a 23-17 or 24-16 Senate advantage, depending how the Garcia-Rodriguez race in District 37 goes.

More than 11 million Floridians cast ballots in Tuesday’s elections, with turnout early Wednesday estimated by the Florida Division of Elections (FDOE) to be 77%.

If Rodriguez falls, he will be the only incumbent senator from either party to not be reelected. The most-contested Senate races Tuesday featured spirited, but failed, attempts to unseat incumbents or dominant party candidates in “purple districts.”

Democrats targeted Senate Districts 9, 20 and 39 as GOP-controlled seats they could flip in 2020. Republicans won all three.

 

In addition to Senate District 37, Republicans identified Senate Districts 3 and 29 as potentially vulnerable Democrat-held seats. Other than District 37, Democrats fended off the GOP challengers. Among prominent Senate results:

• Senate District 20: Republican Rep. Danny Burgess will assume the seat vacated by the retirement of Sen. Tom Lee, securing a near-10% victory over Democrat Kathy Lewis.

• Senate District 3: Term-limited Democratic state Rep. Loranne Ausley was expected to easily assume term-limited Democratic Sen. Bill Montford’s seat representing the Tallahassee-area district, but GOP newcomer Marva Preston gave her a run for her money, literally.

Ausley garnered 137,435 votes to defeat Preston 53.4% to 46.6% but not before the race evolved into one of the most-expensive and high-profile state Senate races in Florida.

Senate District 9: Republican Rep. Jason Brodeur will keep this Brevard County district in Republican hands after securing a narrow 2% victory over Democrat Patricia Sigman.

Brodeur won election to the Senate with a 50% to 48% tally over Sigman, who the state’s Democratic Party recruited late last year to make the run for the seat vacated by term-limited Republican Sen. David Simmons.

Senate District 39: Republican Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez defeated Democratic Rep. Javier Fernández in the race for this Miami-Dade/Florida Keys district being vacated by term-limited Republican Sen. Anitere Flores.

Rodriguez garnered 123,499 votes, securing a 55.6% to 42.8% victory over Fernández, despite being outspent three-to-one.

Senate District 29: Democratic Rep. Tina Polsky will take this Palm Beach County seat being vacated by term-limited Democrat Sen. Kevin Rader. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, she led Republican challenger Brian Norton, 56% to 44%.

John Haughey

The Center Square

The Dominion Voting Systems, which has been used in multiple states where fraud has been alleged in the 2020 U.S. Election, was rejected three times by data communications experts from the Texas Secretary of State and Attorney General’s Office for failing to meet basic security standards.

Unlike Texas, other states certified the use of the system, including Pennsylvania, where voter fraud has been alleged on multiple counts this week.

Dominion Voting Systems, a Canadian company headquartered in Denver, is one of three companies primarily used in U.S. elections. The others are Election Systems and Software and Texas based-Hart InterCivic.

 

The Dominion system was implemented in North Carolina and Nevada, where election results are being challenged, and in Georgia and Michigan, where a “glitch” that occurred reversed thousands of votes for Republican President Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden.

While Biden declared victory Saturday in his U.S. presidential race against Trump, the Trump campaign is launching several challenges to vote counts in states across the country, alleging fraud.

Dominion’s Democracy Suite system was chosen for statewide implementation in New Mexico in 2013, the first year it was rejected by the state of Texas.

Louisiana modernized its mail ballot system by implementing Dominion’s ImageCast Central software statewide; Clark County, Nevada, implemented the same system in 2017. Roughly 52 counties in New York, 65 counties in Michigan and the entire state of Colorado and New Mexico use Dominion systems.

According to a Penn Wharton study, "The Business of Voting," Dominion Voting Systems reached approximately 71 million voters in 1,635 jurisdictions in the U.S. in 2016.

Dominion “got into trouble” with several subsidiaries it used over alleged cases of fraud. One subsidiary is Smartmatic, a company “that has played a significant role in the U.S. market over the last decade,” according to a report published by UK-based AccessWire.

Litigation over Smartmatic “glitches” alleges they impacted the 2010 and 2013 mid-term elections in the Philippines, raising questions of cheating and fraud. An independent review of the source codes used in the machines found multiple problems, which concluded, “The software inventory provided by Smartmatic is inadequate, … which brings into question the software credibility,” ABS-CBN reported.

Smartmatic’s chairman is a member of the British House of Lords, Mark Malloch Brown, a former vice-chairman of George Soros’ Investment Funds, former vice-president at the World Bank, lead international partner at Sawyer Miller, a political consulting firm, and former vice-chair of the World Economic Forum who “remains deeply involved in international affairs.” The company’s reported globalist ties have caused members of the media and government officials to raise questions about its involvement in the U.S. electoral process.

In January, U.S. lawmakers expressed concern about foreign involvement through these companies’ creation and oversight of U.S. election equipment. Top executives from the three major companies were grilled by both Democratic and Republican members of the U.S. House Committee on House Administration about the integrity of their systems.

Also in January, election integrity activists expressed concern “about what is known as supply-chain security, the tampering of election equipment during manufacturing,” the Associated Press reported. “A document submitted to North Carolina elections officials by ES&S last year shows, for example, that it has manufacturing operations in the Philippines.”

All three companies “have faced criticism over a lack of transparency and reluctance to open up their proprietary systems to outside testing,” the Associated Press reported. In 2019, the AP found that these companies “had long skimped on security in favor of convenience and operated under a shroud of financial and operational secrecy despite their critical role in elections.”

 

In its third examination of Dominion systems in 2019, Texas officials once again rejected using it after identifying “multiple hardware and software issues that preclude the Office of the Texas Secretary of State from determining that the Democracy Suite 5.5-A system satisfies each of the voting-system requirements set forth in the Texas Election Code.”

The examiners raised specific concerns about whether the system “was suitable for its intended purpose; operates efficiently and accurately; and is safe from fraudulent or unauthorized manipulation.”

They concluded that Dominion systems and corresponding hardware devices did not meet Texas Election Code certification standards.

Last December, a group of Democratic politicians sent a letter to leaders of private equity firms that own the major election vendors asking them to disclose information including ownership, finances and research investments.

"The voting machine lobby, led by the biggest company, ES&S, believes they are above the law,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Intelligence Committee and co-signer of the letter, said. “They have not had anybody hold them accountable even on the most basic matters.”

ES&S Chief Executive Tom Burt dismissed the criticism, telling NBC News that it was “inevitable and impossible to answer,” and called on Congress to implement “greater oversight of the national election process.”

“There are going to be people who have opinions from now until eternity about the security of the equipment, the bias of those companies who are producing the equipment, the bias of the election administrators who are conducting the election,” Burt told NBC News.

“What the American people need is a system that can be audited, and then those audits have to happen and be demonstrated to the American public,” Burt said.

Burt argued last year in an op-ed published by Roll Call that national regulatory oversight was needed, including requirements for paper backups of individual votes, mandatory post-election audits and additional resources for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

NBC News examined publicly available online shipping records for ES&S and found that many parts for U.S. election machines, including electronics and tablets, were made in China and the Philippines. When it raised concerns about the potential for technology theft or sabotage, Burt said the overseas facilities were “very secure” and the final assembly of machines occurs in the U.S.

The AP also surveyed the election software being used by all 50 states, the District of Columbia and territories. Roughly 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide were using Windows 7 or an older operating system in 2019 to create ballots, program voting machines, tally votes and report counts, the AP found. Windows 7 reached the end of its operational life in January 2020.

After Jan. 14, Microsoft stopped providing technical support and producing “patches” to fix software vulnerabilities, making Windows 7 easy to hack unless U.S. jurisdictions paid a fee to receive security updates through 2023, the AP found.

According to its assessment, multiple states were affected by the end of Windows 7 support, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, many counties in Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Bethany Blankley

The Center Square

The role of the journalist is to ask questions from those who have the answers.

It’s not to shut down a point of view as it's being expressed, but to challenge it after it’s been expressed.

Let's think about this today, after The Associated Press and the networks one by one declared former Vice President Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election on Saturday morning and ahead of what President Donald Trump vowed would be a fight to the finish. The Center Square vows to stay with this story until the end.

 

Journalism cannot be practiced fairly or ethically if we silence the newsmakers – whether their opinions jibe with the truth or our own beliefs of what is truthful.

It should be more than a bit concerning to all Americans – regardless of their political leanings or affiliations – that the national legacy news media are shutting off direct access to a seated president days after the most intensely contested election of our lifetimes.

ABC, CBS, CNBC, MSNBC and NBC each cut away from a live feed of Trump speaking from a podium Thursday in the White House about alleged instances of voter fraud. USA Today dropped its online feed.

“President Trump, without evidence, claimed the presidential election was corrupt and fraudulent. We stopped the livestream of his remarks early and have removed the video from all our platforms. Our job is to spread the truth – not unfounded conspiracies,” Nicole Carroll, editor in chief of USA Today, the country’s widest-circulated daily newspaper, said.

The networks offered similarly worded explanations and justifications for their actions.

Without question, Trump can be vitriolic and hyperbolic, but he’s the president and more than 70.6 million Americans appear to have voted for him. It’s the second-highest vote total for a president in U.S. history, and more than former President Barack Obama received in 2008. The 74.8 million votes Joe Biden has been credited with thus far in Tuesday’s election stands as the highest vote total. Keep in mind that votes were still being counted Saturday and both totals will change.

Americans have every right to scrutinize election results, and to be skeptical of them in an election such as this, amid a global pandemic, when virtually everything about our lives is slightly off or different from what we remember as normal. Pandemic aside, it would be reasonable to seek answers in these election results – simply because they are so very different in the volume of returns, the expansion of mail-in votes, counting method and tabulations than any election of our time.

Biden, who had run for president three times previously in a 47-year career in politics, who until 2020 never before won the nomination, whose candidacy for this year’s race started in obscurity and proceeded through perhaps the most low-key presidential campaign of the past 70 years, just scored the most votes in U.S. presidential history – more than 4 million more votes than Obama secured 12 years before.

Precincts in some cities are reporting turnout via ballot return or onsite votes cast above 90%. It’s been reported that some precincts have been above 100%, though that’s not verified. There is so much noise on this front that still needs to be reported accurately. Regardless, that should suggest to an objective media that something outside the norm has occurred, and it should be pursued – regardless of how outlandish any individual claim of voter fraud may sound.

The means by which those votes came in, trickling in via mail-in ballots whose counts are equally unprecedented, is new territory for all of us to observe and process amidst the backdrop of COVID-19. Voting and trust in voting protocols may never be the same. I write this from the shadows of Chicago. Voter fraud is not a fairy tale. 

The Americans who voted for Trump, who were so enthusiastic about early results Tuesday evening, watched as Trump's lead dripped away in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania because of massive numbers of mail-in ballots. They also watched as Arizona was called for Biden earlier in the night, probably prematurely, in a race that remained open and still was counting ballots as of Saturday.

While the high totals of mail-ins were anticipated, and delays in declaring state winners had been forecasted throughout the campaign, the sheer size and impact of these ballots could not be adequately foretold by the media covering the election.

Therein lies the rub.

You have – at the very least – the optics of a potentially stolen election, and fraud claims from a president whose leads in states critical to his reelection chances diminished by what is arguably the least-secure voting process we’ve ever allowed as a nation.

In the moment when Trump makes this claim to the American people, the networks – acting independently, but in unison – turned off the feed.

This did nothing but disenfranchise voters, stoke divisiveness and ramp up mistrust for the media. It’s absolutely the wrong approach. We should all be fighting for transparency and openness, integrity and truth.

And you cannot get that without allowing what is nearly half of the electorate to hear from their candidate and then determine the relevance of what has been said.

In the jeers and insults hurled each other’s way during the first debate, many more of them authored by Trump than Biden, it was Biden who said, “Will you shut up, man?”

But for media to willfully shut up a seated president, considering all the angst around this election, is reckless and dangerous. 

When that silencing is done in what appears to be an act of unison, or comfort within a pack – as was the case Thursday night when the networks dumped the Trump feed – it further feeds the notion that media is a team sport rather than races run by individual, free-thinking journalists.

Americans have a right to hear from the president and the former vice president who may be our next president, uninterrupted, and to consider their words before journalists report on them in whatever way they may choose to interpret the news. Media cutting the cord and then taking the news wherever they’d like is not journalism. It’s censorship. It’s elitist. And it’s wrong.

When media companies say they are sparing their readers or viewers from the news, they’re taking a position that is not theirs to hold. Journalists are not arbiters of the truth. Live-action fact checking is not fact checking. It’s quite literally interference. It’s an attempt to control what is being said rather than reporting on what’s being said.

Look, we’ve watched the frustration that journalists have had in covering the Trump presidency. The flip side of that is that at least 69 million Americans have watched the president’s frustration with the media covering his presidency.

But what is our responsibility as an industry?

I look at it this way: Media silencing a president is a sin as great as – if not greater than – a president attempting to silence the media. Journalists must rise above not being appreciated, liked or respected and do a difficult job that this country needs to be done.

Chris Krug

The Center Square

 

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