In an unlikely marriage of desire to secede from the United States of America, two homegrown, anti-U.S. advocacy groups from opposite political traditionsNew England and the Southsat down to talk at the North American Separatist Convention in Chattanooga, Tenn., last week. Tired of foreign wars and what they consider right-wing courts, the Middlebury Institute wants liberal states like Vermont to be able to secede peacefully. But the controversial institute has found a vocal critic in the guise of a Vermont political Internet bloggler named Vermont Woodchuck (www.nerepublican.com). Has anybody information on where all these right-wing courts are?, asks the controversial Vermont blogger. The conservative blogger prefers anonymity due to past threats made by what he called leftist nut jobs. Still, the Woodchuck has made it his mission to challenge the radical Middlebury Institute and expose it for what he believes it is"a deranged, maybe dangerous, subversive political group; a bunch of old Leninists who are upset they lost." While the bloggers focus is the left-leaning Middlebury Institute, he doesnt appear to endorse the right-leaning League of the South secessionist group either. The Middlebury Institute (middleburyinstitute.org), which was started in Middlebury, Vt., in 2004, is now based in Cold Spring, N.Y.; it was launched by a small group wanting to promote separatism, secession, so-called self-determination and devolutionary trends. Kirkpatrick Sale and Thomas Naylor are identified with the radical institute. The group, at least according to the Vermont Woodchuck, appears to believe the United States is an evil empire. If allowed to go their own way, New Englanders probably would allow abortion and have gun control, Michael Hill of Killen, Ala., president of the League of the South (dixienet.org\New%20Site/index.shtml) said at last weeks Tennessee gathering; while Southerners would probably crack down on illegal immigration harder than it is being now. Woodchuck said that would include immigration from the Vermont Second Republic, too. While the U.S. Constitution does not explicitly prohibit secession, few Americans are comfortable with the idea. Several point to the need to enforce sedition laws before any violence begins despite both sides claiming their peaceful intentions. Vermont, one of the nations most liberal states, has become a home for 21st century secessionists; the fringe movement has gained new traction because of the Iraq war, rising oil prices and the formation of several pro-secession groups. After secession, Vermonts GNP would exceed only North Koreas manufacturing base, said the Vermont blogger. Wed be a Third World economy. Many secessionists dismiss Vermont Woodchucks criticisms. Naylor, the founder of Second Vermont Republic and a Middlebury Institute member, said the friendly relationship with the League of the South doesnt mean everyone shares all the same beliefs. The first North American Separatist Convention was held last year in Vermont, which, unlike most southern states, supports civil unions. Vermont voters elected a socialist, Bernie Sanders, to the U.S. Senate.