Today's Guest: John Amato, political website founder, CrooksAndLiars.com It’s not just this generation. Politics has always been dirty, nasty, bare-knuckle affairs. In the American two-party system, one side always blames the other for whatever ails the country. The new twist in the 21st Century is the emergence of political Web sites and political blogs in particular. Anyone with a point of view can get a free blog from blogger.com or wordpress.com and be online telling the world what they think about anything, anywhere in about ten minutes or less. Some of these new voices are surprisingly thoughtful, literate, and inspiring. Some are just idiots with cyber-megaphones. Some are on the right, some are on the left, but there is no doubt that the best of them and some who are just louder than the others will wield unprecedented influence going into the 2008 Presidential primaries and election cycle. One of the rising stars of the genre is John Amato, agent provocateur of the best-named blog of the bunch, CrooksandLiars.com. CrooksandLiars.com Website • Facebook • C&L Twitter • John Amato Twitter BOB ANDELMAN/Mr. MEDIA: John, you are a professional musician by trade. What prompts a man like yourself to go public with his politics? AMATO: Well, you know, a couple of reasons. First of all, politics obviously influences everybody’s lives, and I think at some time in each of our lives, we have taken a look and seen who is running for President, even if we never bother with politics, and I was that type of person, which would sort of be on the periphery, you know, read what I can, and it was something that interested me. But being a professional musician, obviously, I practice for six hours a day and go on the road and travel and still keep abreast of things. But I got injured. JOHN AMATO audio excerpt: "I was touring with Duran Duran, and a doctor crippled me. We won’t get into what he did, and I was unable to perform. I was home disabled, and that’s when I started to really follow the blogs because I was able to read, and I decided, you know, I want my voice to be heard, even if nobody reads it, because I felt that things in this country were in the wrong direction."  If for nothing else, I would be able to express myself, and that’s all I wanted to really do at that time. ANDELMAN: Was there a particular incident, a political incident that set you off? AMATO: Well, I would say initially there were two things. Obviously, the Iraq war was one that I felt was a dishonest war. I felt that it was something that we should have never done, so that got my blood boiling. And as a touring musician, this might be funny to some, but when people started to protest the Dixie Chicks -- and when I heard that they were burning their records and kicking them off the radio -- I was playing at the time. It caused me to pause and say, “Wait a second.” I mean, before, I grew up in the 1970s where protest and music were part of the culture. Music told The Man, you know, “Get out of here. We’re not taking it.” Music was the instrument. It sort of obviously changed society, and there was a big break in the 1960s and 1970s, so when I heard that people were attacking the Dixie Chicks just because they said something negative against President Bush, I really realized that there was something very wrong with the country. ANDELMAN: Did you ever imagine a New York boy like you would be supporting a bunch of Southern chicks like them? AMATO: I never did. I like Patsy Cline. I can’t tell you that I’ve been a big country fan, but some of the greats I enjoy, some of the old Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, but it was just interesting. That story just stuck with me, obviously a musician playing, and I just could not understand. And I realized that there were people really organizing to do this, and this is America! We talk against power. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Democratic nominee in the White House, if it’s a Republican, we al