Thought this might be of interest. Here's a note sent to me on Facebook by someone connected with the Tea Party leadership. My reply follows below:

Roanoke Tea Party Inc."The Roanoke Tea Party is a group of citizens, including many like Noah and some like Condor Man. They may not have the same opinion of our local group, but it is basically just coming together.

We would like to link to other areas of the state and will as soon as possible.

The only thing I can say to you Condor Man, is to keep doing what you are doing, and we will do our best as well to follow through with our intentions of encouraging the local citizenry to come together to make our voices heard for the benefit of the people.

I can assure you that the Roanoke Tea Party will not endorse any candidate that it doesn't see working in the best interest of the Roanoke Valley and who is not of the opinion that the Constitution is -that very best interest."

My reply:

Hi RT -

Thank you for the response, first of all. I continue, however, to have growing reservations about the Tea Party.

Let me tell you why.

I attended the Elmwood Park rally about a month ago. At one point, a speaker made a few remarks critical of George W. Bush; specifically, about the assaults on civil liberties in the name of "fighting terrorism" that were the hallmark of the Bush presidency. There was an awkward near silence. Very little clapping (as opposed to the loud clapping prompted by criticism of Obama).

I found this quite telling. Many in the Tea Party seem to have no problem with Big Government, so long as it is Republican Big Government - that is, a militaristic, corporatist state pursuing a global empire abroad in the name of "freedom" and a Big Business-dominated economy at home in the name of "privatization" and the "free market."

But the warfare state is as much the enemy of liberty as the welfare state sought by liberal Democrats (the other side of the statist coin). And the partnering of Big Business and Big Government is not the "free market" but rather, its opposite.

My impression is the Tea Party's a lot softer on the GOP than it is on the Democrats; indeed, since I joined, this impression has been confirmed by multiple batch e-mails sent to me urging that I support Republican office-seekers.

But the GOP has proved itself to be as much the enemy of liberty as the Democratic Party. I fear supporting it in any way is a fool's errand - basically no different than Charlie Brown believing that maybe this time, Lucy won't pull the football out at the last second... .

I want an alternative to statism - not Republican statism instead of Democrat statism.

But the Tea Party (in my area) seems focused on promoting Republican pols; there is no Forum on the official site for ordinary members to directly communicate with one another - and this is just inexcusable. It is child's play to set up a Forum/BBS. It can be done in half an hour by any sixteen-year-old. The fact that the Tea Party web site does not have a Forum, therefore, suggests to me that the leadership wants to control the debate and direct it along lines that it deems appropriate. And to a great extent, this boils down to, "Support Joe Smith for City Council" or something similar.

That's not what I - and I suspect, a great many others - want. We want freedom from both parties! A rebirth of real liberty - personal as well as economic. And that will not happen by cheerleading the GOP and its stooges.

I'm ready to do whatever I can to promote freedom - but I will not support Republicans because Republicans are as guilty of raping the Constitution as Democrats and to believe the party will ever be other than it has been is either naive or stupid - I'm not sure which.

I would like to get in touch with like-minded people, especially in my area (Floyd, VA). I even have a "rebel" web site where there is a Forum that ordinaries can post and communicate with one another instead of being spoon-fed talking points from on high. Drop me a line, or come on down: (click on the red Forum button to get to the posting area).