Ever since the first Netroots Nation in Austin in 2008, our annual gathering has been shadowed by the well-funded wingnut right.
The Kochs-created Americans for Prosperity created an astroturf subsidiary -- Right Online, which showed up simultaneously in Austin, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, and, most weirdly in the same Minneapolis hotel.
Right Online gave up after that, so last year the billionaire-funded Heritage Foundation and the Franklin Center (a Kochs front group from Wisconsin) showed up in Providence to hold the first (and evidently only) Future of Journalism Summit and present the Breitbart Awards to, among others, the dumbest man on the Internet.
But this year, nothing, in San Jose anyway.
The Kochs' hydra-headed propaganda machine is in northern California this week, holding the first (and maybe last) Liberty Hackathon in San Francisco this weekend.
The event is allegedly an attempt to attract and engage young NoCal techies via "a competition among teams formed on-site to develop a web or mobile application in a weekend; cash prizes will be awarded; and top ideas will be considered for future investment."
Not quite the same as the AFP agitprop model, which was to glom onto Netroots Nation in the same city to get some free publicity AFP would not get on its own. And if they were especially lucky, they could get some DFH to swear in front of a cellphone camera, which they could try to make viral on the wingnut Internet.
Right Online still exists, they were in Las Vegas last year and will be in Orlando this year (in very hot last August).
They probably gave up on shadowing Netroots Nation because they ALWAYS came out in local and national coverage as the smaller, stupider convention, with such easily mockable speakers as Sarah Palin, Jonah Goldberg, Michelle Malkin, Dana Loesch, etc., pitching the same rotten red meat to a dwindling lowest-information audience.
Or maybe the Kochs just pulled the plug.
Whatever, as an attendee since Chicago, I am happy to finally be at a Netroots Nation without the distraction, however slight, of a Kochs-funded agitprop event in the same city.