| AspenTimes.com

The roots of 9/11

The coverage of 9/11 brought into focus who the mainstream media and Federal Reserve consortium serve. It appears 9/11 was manufactured by some international consortium members to use our military for their agendas. Travel back to 1945 to understand that consortium.

Near the conclusion of World War II, along with the partition of the conquered lands, only a small group of the world’s deep state members must have understood the absurd power vested with the foreign-owned Federal Reserve as the U.S. dollar became world reserve currency. That ended U.S. independent sovereignty. A consortium of blended international banking, military and corporate interests was formed and would secretly pull America’s strings from then on.

The Federal Reserve/Treasury part of the consortium promised to keep the dollar equal to 1/35 of an ounce of gold. Instead they expanded the currency supply way beyond. Mortgages greatly expanded debt. In French, “mortgage” means death contract, which many homeowners caught in foreclosures have learned is an accurate description.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon was forced to admit the U.S. had been taken off the gold standard. The dollar was destabilized and gold price shot up by 15 times over the next 10 years revealing way more fiat money was created between 1945 and 1971 than promised. That great excess of monetary expansion provided the inner banking-related consortium a choke hold over America and the world.

A monetary stabilization technique was invented by Nixon’s invented petrol dollar where U.S. military was employed to prop up the dollar. 9/11 appears to be a consortium staged event to provide the justification to expand U.S. military usage. The succession of destruction/profit and control taking across the Middle East thereafter is historic. Mainstream promotes some U.S. “allies” who are very, very, very expensive associates.

America needs to win back independence.

Mark Kwiecienski


Why hate on alternative energy?

Is it possible for some of our right wing or libertarian neighbors in the valley to explain why they dislike solar power, windmill power, electric cars, hybrid cars and for some strange reason Toyota Priuses? I’m also confused about how hydroelectric dams are rarely if ever mentioned.

Miles Knudson

Aspen Village

How to make assault rifles safe for society

I am a hunter and own several rifles and shotguns. The rifles I own are the bolt-action type with the ammunition loaded one by one into a magazine that holds five or six shells. My sons and grandsons own semi-automatic rifles that are used for recreation target shooting, and I agree that these rifles are fun to shoot. However, these are the guns that can have large removable clips that have been used in tragic mass shootings.

It seems to me that what makes these guns unsafe for society is not the semi-automatic feature, but the removable large-capacity clips. Maybe the solution is to ban removable clips and limit the magazine/clips to five or six shells. The sportsman would still get to enjoy the semi-automatic feature but would just have to stop and reload the shells one by one. Gun manufacturers would still get to produce semi-automatic guns but only with non-removable clips and with limited shell capacity.

For the millions of semi-automatic rifles already in existence in the U.S., gun manufacturers would be required to design and produce conversion clips that would be limited to five or six shells and once installed couldn’t be removed without special tools. For instance, clip removal could require two tools so the gun would have to be laid down to change out the clip.

These non-removable clips could be phased in over several years and this program would work in combination with a buyback program for the removable clips and any guns that can’t be converted or guns that owners would like to give up. This requirement of non-removable clips also could be applied to handguns so that only law enforcement would be allowed to have weapons with removable clips. After a reasonable specified time, weapons with removable clips would be illegal.

I recognize that many other good solutions are being promoted to reduce the gun violence in our country. I strongly recommend this suggestion be added to those being considered.

Jim Harrison


Aspen City Council drunk on its ineptitude

When the prior Aspen City Council decided on a two-site solution — new administrative offices and retaining the armory building as City Hall — it set forth a vision. Specifically, it was that the existing building, long known and used (at least 70, perhaps 90 years) as “City Hall” would be retained as the seat of local government. It carried with it a potential for new council chambers on the top floor with sweeping views of Aspen Mountain and offices for mayor and top officials in that renovated structure. Administrative offices for remainder would be housed in the new building. There was a price tag associated with the two-site plan but it was deemed to be an acceptable trade-off to carry out the vision.

In contrast, the present council is caught in the quicksand of indecision with no direction. It is now mired in the minutia, severely myopic, and without a guiding concept of how all the pieces should fit together. Having fussed over a large part of the puzzle (location of council chambers), as well as a small part (where to put Aspen Chamber Resort Association), it destroyed the overall vision of the plan it inherited, one which honored community values, our historic past and set forth a logical division of functional activities. That has been replaced with … nothing, except the expectation that council will sink deeper in the mire.

Alarmingly, this latest incarnation of council has reaffirmed a pervasive hallmark of some of its predecessors: a penchant to micro-manage and discuss things to death, while costs continue to increase. Any guesses on the number of change orders and the final cost for this project due to that ineptitude?

Neil B. Siegel


Done with Facebook

I dropped out of Facebook. My browser isn’t Google. Both companies are typical fascists. Intolerant of “unapproved” views. Promoting political agendas. In a word unamerican.

Maurice Emmer


Aspen Princess: From the mountain top, through a few valleys and back, eight years of great

Eight years ago today, at high noon on top of Aspen Mountain, I married Ryan in a ceremony that was truly fit for a princess. I promised to love him “in powder and in ice” and “with Highland Bowl as our witness.”

It should have cost at least double what we paid for it, but therein lies the most beautiful thing about living in Aspen — people really do take care of each other. If ever there was an appropriate time to cash in on the old “ski bum currency,” this was it.

I originally imagined our wedding would be a very laid back, mountain-style affair. I thought I’d wear a short dress with cowboy boots, a crown of fresh flowers in my hair. I imagined a backyard wedding with Mexican food, a bluegrass band, and kegs of really good beer.

I don’t know how we went from tins of black beans and burritos to a plated luncheon at the Aspen Mountain Club; from dusty boots to Christian Dior silk stilettos; from a short dress to a Claire Pettibone gown; or a flower crown to hair extensions, but that’s what happened.

“I’ll buy one shoe and you buy the other,” my mom suggested when we saw those little pieces of art for your feet in the store window, perched on a glass pedestal something out of an Aspen fairytale. With all those zeroes, it was the only way we could justify the price.

I still have those shoes, sitting on top of a shelf in my closet where I can look at them every day. I have often thought of having a special shadow box made so I could hang them on the wall like art. Every year, I wear them on our anniversary, even under jeans, even if we are in Moab, or Silverton, or wherever our anniversary trip takes us.

Truth be told, we haven’t been on one of those trips since Levi was born. Hell, we can’t even find a babysitter to watch him so we can go out to dinner alone. He’ll come along with us, and it will be a family affair as most everything is these days. Thank god Tempernillo has a playground for us desperate midvalley parents to allow us to spend our money on a halfway decent meal instead of a babysitter.

A lot has changed in eight years. We moved downvalley, bought a house, had a baby. Ryan got a big job, I became a mother who works part time.

We love being parents and experiencing the world through his eyes has given us the chance to slow down, enjoy the moment and appreciate the small stuff: an afternoon at the park, a walk along the river, a short bike ride along the Rio Grande Trail, time at the pool and the stillness of the house during naps. Best of all, getting out on the mountain to ski with a young child is like going back in time and doing it all over again. The discovery, the excitement, and the joy aren’t dependent on 6 inches of fresh snow but the first time riding a real chairlift; the sound of your child’s shrieks and giggles as he feels the pull of gravity; the moment you know they understand why this life is so important to you and why you have built your life around this, and his life for this.

We’ve also had some hard times. Ryan’s beloved German Shepherd George died from Leukemia on Halloween in 2012. We lost our first pregnancy in 2014 and went through two more rounds of fertility treatments before we finally got pregnant with Levi in 2015. Ryan changed jobs, going from his beloved Maintenance Man of the Century position at Centennial to managing a T-shirt print shop in Carbondale for a friend, to working for property management and landscaping companies that meant crazy hours and crappy pay until he finally landed his dream job at Colorado Rocky Mountain School. There, he can do the kind of work he loves, which means a little bit of everything, but still be a part of a community. He takes his role as Director of Building and Grounds as seriously as if he were CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Thank god one of us is a hard worker.

Then we lost our beloved Gertie, the pug I am not supposed to write about, but you have all heard that story too many times already.

That said, I don’t know what people are talking about when they say marriage is hard, or that marriage takes work. I don’t know what this “seven-year itch” is supposed to mean. My marriage is what makes the hard things easier. It’s the only relationship in my life that doesn’t take work. If there is an itch, Ryan is the one who scratches it. If anything, time has flown by, evidenced by the wrinkles around our eyes and the flecks of gray in our scalps and the softness around our bellies (OK, so that was always there, but you know what I mean).

I don’t know why or how I was able to find this man. Maybe it’s because we married later in life and we were wiser, more comfortable in our skin, and truly ready to settle down. Maybe it’s because both of our sets of parents are still married after 50 years and set the perfect example for what a long-lasting love is. Maybe it’s because there is such a thing as love at first sight and love that was meant-to-be and the forces of the universe can bring two people together. Maybe we do have more than one lifetime and relive our relationships in different forms over and over until we get it right.

I’m pretty sure we’re getting this one right. And if we’re not, we have the rest our lives to work on it.

The Princess is thinking about getting her eyelids done. Send your referrals to alisonmargo@gmail.com.

Sean Beckwith: Sean-shack Redemption

The end of an era is near (or is it the end of an error?) as my stint of living with roommates for 15 years is over Oct. 1. From 2004 to 2019, I lived with 25 different people in three different states. From randos at Club Commons to former and future brother-in-laws and a plethora of friends in between, my saga — albeit extended due to Aspen’s lack of affordable housing — has been comical, occasionally contentious and, above all else, long.

Like a sitcom too lazy to come up with a serviceable storyline at the end of its run, I’m going to forgo any kind of substance and just play the hits. Below are some very true stories from my time enduring an excessive number of derelicts (no offense to some and all of the offense to others).


One’s lifestyle changes dramatically from 18 to 33. Where there were once mountains of Coors Light cans, there is now only a mere hill. Raucous birthday parties are now dinner gatherings.

Fat kid feasts featuring heaps of nachos and heartburn-inciting pizza and raviolis have made way for steak and rice, cheese boards and other more flavorful, less artery-clogging fare.

However, you occasionally get an urge to sit on your balcony and throw empty beer cans in the air for pellet gun practice; to play drinking games until one of you drives through a fence; bathe in applewood smoke before a spritz of barbecue sauce and pork fat; spear tackle a friend into a kiddie pool over a lingering fantasy football feud; take breakfast and bloodies to new heights and blurry downloads; play College Football and scream “It’s going the other way!” until the sun comes up; polish off brown liquor with each errant dart throw; or play beer pong or beer die while in a fog of cigarette and weed smoke.

That said, not too many people long for the days of Pretty Lights rattling their walls; people using your laundry table as a sex swing; that unwelcome guest/guy with the neck tattoo greeting you for morning coffee; holes in the drywall; police raiding a party of 25-year-old delinquents; auto theft; clouds of cigarette and weed smoke; angry neighbors; the smell of stale beer; and mystery liquids that make walking through your kitchen sound like somebody removing patches of Velcro.


After the party and the after party comes the reckoning. I’ve been witness to all sorts of cleaning shortcuts. Substituting lint rollers for vacuums, waiting for the messy roommate to blink as dishes pile up in the sink and using Febreeze as an all-purpose cleaner are all such examples. However, some messes require resorting to more drastic measures — like incineration.

Waking up to your roommates discovering a damp couch after an acquaintance with a notoriously loose bladder slunk off in the early morning hours is terrible for obvious piss-related reasons. The biggest of which is buying a couch on a budget usually means swapping a sofa with a known stain for one with a mystery blotch.

What’s worse is investigating a roommate because he’s actively checking furniture like it’s an NHL playoff game only to find him approaching your davenport as if it were a urinal. No matter how loud you scream, your obliterated buddy isn’t stopping that stream until you physically accost him.

Criminal activity

Speaking of physical assaults, I’ll spare you the actual fights over phantom/perceived girlfriends and go straight to the one where trying to play peacemaker was an awful decision. You know that one friend who gets a little aggro when he has been drinking? Imagine him trying to rouse his equally aggressive doppelganger from a state of blacked-out slumber. Then imagine stepping in to break it up before both culprits knock you off balance and use your body as a sled down the stairs.

Not all assaults are of the physical nature, though. There’s also ocular and aural assaults or just an assault on common decency. Working out in your own personal space is fine; I’ve done it. But “training” for a 5K by doing pushups with your feet on the coffee table while listening to Alex Clare’s ode to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer will force even the best roommate to drink your Miller Lites.

Also, while I’m on the subject of passable decorum, please don’t ever snag a pair of your roommate’s boxers because you hate laundry day. We all hate laundry day; keep your grundle in your own garments.

Alas, the days of extended bromances and suspect substances are over. Impromptu parties will now have to be self-motivated and created via texts and not by yelling upstairs.

I would say I’m torn but the empty couch greeting me after a long double will be just as satisfying as the silence-breaking crack of that pre-shower-beer beer. Sure, there are perks to having roommates — lower rent, developing/handling relationships, blunts, column fodder — but after more than a dozen years and more than two dozen roommates, I’m good.

Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at sebeckwith@aspentimes.com.

Burned by the fine print

We recently experienced a costly 18-month ordeal at the hands of Garfield County. In December 2010, we purchased a log home in Carbondale using reputable realtors and bought from the leading builder. The property was listed as having 17.5 acres.

After listing the property in 2017, we received a full asking price offer due to close in January 2018. The buyer hired a real estate attorney who quickly discovered the property was transferred to us by warranty deed. Garfield County allowed this. The owner of the ranch divided the first six 17.5-acre parcels in 1978. In 1992, he took steps to sever the last 35 acres into two 17.5 acre parcels. That was not done by a formal subdivision exemption.

As a result, we experienced a nightmare. The expenses of real estate and water attorneys, water engineer, multiple inspections and the loss of sales were significant. We were not allowed to sell the property until the Garfield Board of County Commissioners decided on a special land application exemption. That took about 18 months. The property transfer by warranty deed was missed by at least three title companies. Land title denied any liability coverage for this.

The Colorado Senate passed SB35, regulating the subdivision of land resulting in one or more parcels less than 35 acres. It required counties to pass regulations pertaining to parcels of land smaller than 35 acres. That became effective May 5, 2972. Our property was transferred in 1992. It seems title companies and counties are protected rather than those victimized by lack of due diligence. We were told our case is the first of this kind. Hopefully others will be spared of this nightmare.

Margo Kadair and Roy G. Kadair

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Snowmass homeowners squeezed as Skico skates

Base Village has the best access to skiing, hiking, biking, free village shuttles, free Aspen buses and downvalley transit. We live there in summer and winter.

Aspen Skiing Co. does a fabulous job on the mountain — what they don’t talk about is Skico’s Base Village has six entities assessing Base Village residential owners with nine inadequately disclosed taxes and fees.

Just two examples are:

1. Residential owners are paying $11.5 million of construction debt on the public parking and transit center while receiving none of the revenues and the developer-controlled tax district owns them.

2. Residential owners, assessed at three times the rate of commercial owners, pay 77% of the Base Village Master HOA budget for all snowmelt in Base Village for all plazas and walkways, all public rest rooms, skating rink, fire pits, etc.

In contrast, Skico’s Limelight hotel paid the town’s 1% real estate transfer tax but not the 1% real estate transfer fee to the Base Village Master HOA of about a half-million dollars and arranged to lower their annual assessment to the master HOA by over $100,000 a year. The Limelight condo owners and other residential owners did not receive these benefits.

The Limelight/Skico maneuvering is especially egregious because Skico, East West and KSL got $20 million to $40 million in additional value with the 20 condos that replaced the long-promised and never-built 30,000-square-foot aqua center as a result of the 2015 PUD amendment.

Residential owners are willing to pay a fair share, but we expect Skico, et al, to do the same.

Pat Keefer

Snowmass and Texas

John Colson: Are we simply too dumb, or too numb?

Just what is wrong with us?

And by “us,” I’m referring to the more compassionate, progressive and truly populist (not the kind practiced by demagogues and political pirates) side of our national electorate — or the Democratic party, which by default is the party that espouses some version of such values.

As I watched the fallout from the most recent Democratic presidential debate, I was struck by how firmly we seem to be locked into a forever-loop of high drama and fervent hopefulness in assessing candidates for the highest office in the land, even as we insist that the candidates be perfect in every way and able to instantly come up with plans that will solve everything once they’re elected.

Such delusional insistence is a guarantee for disappointment, as we saw with the election of President Barack Obama in 2008.

Obama, thanks to his intelligence, his speaking abilities and his left-leaning politics seemed to many of us to be an answer to our political prayers, though in the end he failed to live up to that promise for many reasons.

Of course, it didn’t hurt his election chances that his opponent, the late Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, seemed to lose his marbles momentarily during the race and named former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

As Palin’s vacuous mental state and ignorance about nearly everything became more and more clear, the electorate went with Obama despite the racist rumblings from Republicans and the extreme right wing of our benighted country.

The resulting outburst of racist rants and acts are by now legendary, and perhaps none were more blatant and outrageous than the 2010 incident on the steps of the U.S. Capitol when a rabid Tea Party protester spat on U.S. Congressman John Lewis as he walked past an angry mob gathered to protest the proposed Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature legislation that was poised for adoption at that point.

Anyway, back to our delusional demands of perfection on the part of our candidates.

Throughout the aftermath of the latest Democratic debate, commentators, one after another, lamented that not one candidate had risen above the rest and “won” the debate, as if it were a competitive exercise on a reality television show.

That comparison, naturally, leads to consideration of our current president, whose popularity (if it can be called by such a moniker) stems largely from his work as a reality TV host on the show “The Apprentice.”

On that show (which I never watched on purpose, though I often caught broadcast clips of his performances of his more outrageous pronouncements), Donald Trump learned a lot of things, but mostly he realized that outrageous acts and language were not only perfectly acceptable, they were outright demanded by his viewing audience.

Once he seized on the idea of running for president, Trump naturally put his TV triumphs at the top of his strategy, presuming that what worked for “The Apprentice” would work just as well in the election campaign.

He was proven correct, of course, as the most racist, xenophobic, misogynist segment of our electorate responded wholeheartedly and loudly, probably in as much of a reaction against the Obama presidency as a validation of anything Trump might say or do.

And that is the standard by which we now, apparently, judge all candidates. If someone running for office cannot titillate us with his or her words and persona, too many of us deem them somehow a failure, or at least not worthy of trust and support — at least, not until they do come up with some leftist version of Trump’s nasty, intolerant and basically anti-human rhetoric.

The national media, unfortunately, seem to validate this kind of thinking, as they rush from one political scoop to the next and search pantingly for the same kind of vitriol and condemnation as Trump has given us.

This is a betrayal of our basic duty as voting citizens, which is to carefully examine the candidates, their proposals and philosophy on our way to deciding which of them should get our vote.

Part of the problem, of course, is the fact that our educational system has been grindingly diminished by years of government neglect, most determinedly by Republican politicians who understand that a smarter electorate would spell doom for the party, which is unabashedly in favor of destroying government and privatizing our education system.

The outcome, if not the intent, has been to reduce our schools to the level of factories cranking out docile and compliant workers rather than thoughtful, rational citizens with all the tools needed to properly exercise the electoral franchise. Not all schools have fallen prey to this systematic degradation (our schools in the valley, for instance, seem to still be pretty good).

But too many have gone down the rathole, nationally speaking, and this dumbing down of America has given us today’s political reality, under which the populace seeks emotional gratification rather than education, spectacle instead of substance, and easily digested soundbites rather than well-considered explanations of the complex and difficult questions we face as a nation.

Overcoming these obstacles is not easy, but it’s necessary, if we are to pull ourselves out of the awful tailspin that has this country in its grip.

Or are we simply too dumb, or too numb, to cope with all this?

Email at jbcolson51@gmail.com.