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  • Factually Incorrect With Bill Maher

    During the weekly round table discussion on ABC’s This Week, Bill Maher made an astonishing claim. He claimed that Brazil has “gone off oil” in the last 30 years. He said:

    So, you know, I could certainly criticize oil companies, and I could criticize America in general for not attacking this problem in the ’70s. I mean, Brazil got off oil in the last 30 years. We certainly could have.

    Well, Mr. Maher certainly has an odd view of what constitutes “getting off oil” because according to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Brazil is the 13th largest producer of oil in the world, pumping out 2.4 million barrels a day. A lot of Brazil’s oil comes from offshore drilling sites. Since the discovery of the offshore oil in 2008, Brazil has aggressively tried to extract that oil.

    While Maher correctly stated that Brazil does use sugar cane ethanol, but it does not account for their entire energy needs. Brazil still gets most of their energy from crude oil and diesel reserves. More damaging is the fact that planting sugar cane is causing more deforestation and more carbon emissions in Brazil. Not exactly what those fighting for ethanol mandates are hoping for, but this is the reality in Brazil. In fact, the left-leaning Grist magazine noted that there was much to worry about Brazil’s ethanol “miracle” and the U.S. should think twice before following the same plight.

    It would behoove Mr. Maher to actually check his facts before he spews them out on national television. Thankfully, George Will was there to counter his ridiculous claim.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    24 Responses to Factually Incorrect With Bill Maher

    1. Brad, Chicago says:

      Do you want to know why no one stands up for your ("the left's") point of view, Bill? Your point of view is flawed, because it's based on either lies or factual mistakes (I take this blatant falsehood as evidence of the way he gathers information and forms opinions). You believe what you want to believe, without looking at issues from all angles (notice, when questioned, Maher changes his statement to "I believe" Brazil has made this change). The people at the extremes of both sides of the political spectrum base their judgments on their preconceived ideas and hastily formed opinions. This is why our government was designed to work on compromise and consensus (and then, there was Obamacare).

    2. Gordon Shumway says:

      great post. great title. great everything.

    3. Frederico Ferreira, says:

      With the recent discoveries of off-shore reserves in Brazil, it was even brought up in Brazil, that the country should join OPEC. The whole sugar cane lingo has just disappeared from diplomacy. Not to mention that the fuel made of sugar cane is heavily subsidized and it is a legal requirement to mix ethanol with regular gas.

    4. Billie says:

      Awesome job!

      for the most part, bill maher has become a nothing. Politically Incorrect was good until he invited a friend, introduced as a pimp, on the show. The man dressed the part and the talk was nothing but (my opinion,) ownership of women. It was pukedly disgusting. Now he's a cocky little "look, Mr. President, I can speak for you." I'm on your side, don't hurt me," man.

    5. Pingback: PA Pundits - International

    6. Mark, Rochester NY says:

      Mahar has had his 15 minutes of fame and is an embarrassment. I don't know who my liberal friends try to distnace themselves from more vehemently Chris "thrill up my leg" Mathews or Bill Mahar

    7. Grace says:

      Bill Maher just continually spews junk from his mouth. Nothing he says is relevant or true. Not sure why we even have a conversation with his name in it. He appeals to the left because they fuel for their fires – He's not very smart he can just keep things stirred up.

    8. Brad, Detroit, MI says:

      Bill Maher has become as insignificant as Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. They are nothing more than Democratic Party schills. Facts are kryptonite to liberals.

    9. Phil Grant, Pearland, Texas says:

      Once again Bill Maher proves that he doesn’t have a clue about almost anything. Why people persist in giving this idiot a forum and any creditability is beyond me.

    10. Roy Fileger, Jackson says:

      Additional information. Corn, for ethanol, in this country requires many times the energy to produce than sugar in Brazil.

      Sugarcane in Brazil produces 650 gallons of ethanol per acre.

      Corn in the US produces 400 gallons of ethanol per acre.

      Sugarcane in Brazil requires 6500K Calories to produce one gallon of ethanol.

      Corn in the US requires 28,000K Calories to produce one gallon of ethanol.

    11. Lloyd Scallan - New Orleans area says:

      Bill Maher has always been a radical left-wing, foul-mouth, know-it-all that is on air only because he vomits out the Obama mantra. He appears on HBO, which is a progressive cable programer. Unfortunately, because HBO has other useful programing on several channels, it’s hard to protest by droping them from the cable package. So Maher can continue with his Communist diatribes unchecked
      by either sponsor or network. But we don’t have to watch.

    12. stirling, Pennsylvania says:

      Bill Maher and most like thinking (on the left like him) have and always will have flawed views. Since most of their (the leftist) arguements can not stand on their own merits it’s clear they have to “skew” the truth in order to make it sound plausible to those who belive whatever is said as truth.

    13. Wildcat from Dallastown, PA says:

      While I understand Bill Maher remained his consistent non-factual self spewing ignorance tempered with stupidity on a Sunday morning news show (and got called on the carpet by Georg Will) on the spot, no doubt. But why was he even on this show? He has over the years proved his innate ability to be unapologetically beyond the ozone when it comes down to anything resembling fact based cogent reasoning skill. Having a face made for radio and the intellectual foundation to rival any slightly below average 5th grader he should be sent to the dust bin of former marginal TV shows hosted by even lesser talented people.

      Just for a break from analyzing far more serious matters I took the time to look up a few words in the dictionary to validate my understanding and proper usage. Those included arrogance, ignorance, venality and dolt. In all four cases the prime example included a picture of Bill Maher. However, both arrogance and ignorance contained directions to cross reference the other as they appear to go together when relating to the person pictured. The directions continued to relate the female version of the example was Joy Behar and that for the most part they were interchangeable without losing any meaning. Perhaps that is why he works for the “Has Been Over” (HBO) channel.

    14. Eric Potter MD says:

      Dear Phineas,

      In order to come at all angles of your data, can I ask you this:

      Is the reason for America's "observed" overconsumption relative to production a problem of overconsumption or underproduction? Could this same data be used to argue for opening more off-shore drilling? There are also not enough facts here to determine if we are overconsuming relative to Brazil. Do you have numbers relative to population (bpd per "x" persons???) or numbers relative to production output? Without knowing the population numbers, the true cause of the imbalance, and the production numbers, you can't argue as far as you hoped in your comments.

      I am also curious if you can provide a history of the forces necessary to push Brazil to the 50% rate you mentioned. Are there subsidies (thus costing taxpayers more than just the price at the pump)? How are the vehicle's fuel efficiences?


      Eric Potter MD

    15. Phineas, New York says:

      While Mr. Maher’s comment may have been a stretch, it wasn’t dreamed-up. Speaking of consumption side of the equation, about 50% of all automobiles in Brazil use either 100% ethanol or a “flex-fuel” mixture. It’s 3-5% here in the US. If you consider the efforts Brazil has made in this area, “…got off oil…” while not accurate, is not an entirely oblivious statement. Mr. Maher seemed to be talking about the lack of effort (until recently) to address oil-based energy dependence.

      Just curious–how many who commented knew this?

      As for production–an entirely different matter–the author of this post says Brazil contributes 2.4 million bpd. Sounds about right. They consume about 2.5 million bpd. The US, by contrast, uses about 20 million bpd, and produces about 6 or 7 million bpd.

      Thank you, Roy of Jacksonville, Fla., for the interesting corn/sugarcane information. Those are some amazing facets of production. Had no idea of the relative efficiencies. Curious to know–are you in the energy industry?

    16. charlie, nh says:

      As usual Maher has taken to task his some of his most powerful and persistent

      foes: the facts, the truth and the thought process. It's no wonder the liberals love


    17. Phineas, New York says:

      Mr. Potter, thank you for the civil response. Good questions, all.

      You'll note that in my original comment, I never mentioned "over-consumption" or "under-production" by the United States. I simply made the comparison of consumption and production between the two nations to illustrate that Brazil does not have the issue of having to import between 2/3 and 3/4 of it's oil needs, perhaps because they use an alternative fuel in many cars. Indeed, I am not arguing that America is "addicted to oil." This is the largest industrial economy on earth, which is highly dependent upon energy. We require it. I have no problem with that. Just like I have no problem consuming more bananas than we produce, or rubber, etc.

      Personally, it doesn't bother me at all that we import so much oil. We get more of our imported oil from our neighbors to the north, Canada, and south, Mexico, fairly stable nations. (Venezuela, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia round out the rest of the top 5, the order changing frequently.) There are challenges with this–instability of governments, price fluctuations, etc. But we seem to meet them fairly well, historically speaking.

      To your question of more off-shore drilling: could the data support a move in that direction? Absolutely. It seems that we should be ever-mindful of our needs, and the growing needs of the world (remember that the increase in demand in China and India directly affects us, since we both buy oil in the same world market). Personally, I am a supporter of more offshore drilling. Despite the recent spill, they have a good safety record.

      As for relative consumption between the US and Brazil: I'm not certain of the usefulness of such a comparison. But since you asked, the US uses approximately 7 times as much energy (from all sources) as Brazil, per person, per year. Brazil has about 195 million people and consumes 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. The US has 310 million and uses about 20 million bpd. Again, I am making no such argument that the US over-consumes. Interestingly enough, our economy is about 7 times larger that Brazil's.

      Honestly, I can't speak to why Brazil put such emphasis on using sugar cane ethanol in automobiles. Perhaps it was the oil shocks of the 1970's, when they began their change. Perhaps it was to support the sugar cane industry. I think Mr Maher was suggesting (speaking for myself and not him) that we didn't do all that much to address the same issue back then.

      As for subsidies, I'd give you much the same response: I'm unsure as to how much their industries are subsidized. I would suspect that they are indeed subsidized like so many here in the US. To what degree, I don't know.

      Remember that the author's post was a response to Mr. Maher's assertion of Brazilian alternative energy usage. It turns out that statement was in error, but not completely without substance. That was all I was attempting to show.

      If you're interested, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has a lot of interesting data on their web page: eia.doe.gov.

      Be well, and thank you again for the civil discourse.

    18. US says:

      Every day I hear about people wanting to scam the country for money. Why does our government still insist on foreign oil? Why do we still make paper from Trees? Why do we have pills that have hemp in them but you cant smoke it instead you have to pay 300.00 for a certain amount of pills they control just like the man made narcotics that cause dependence and addiction along with suicidal withdrawals. Why would a doctor insist on someone with a pinched nerve to use a man made narcotic which is very good at relieving pain at first be then the patient needs more and will commit violent crimes to get them instead of just telling the man to smoke some Hemp and they should feel eased. I always thought the doctors went by the Hippocratic oath but I guess the government stopped that important step. My point to all this is our system is all about money and this entire global warming scam is the biggest scam on earth.

      Why do I say this. My question is why hasn't other people who are either claiming global warming or dispute it. Why isn't HEMP legal to grow everywhere possible in the US. I can tell you why and if the DEA or Obama or anyone says it is dangerous because it is a gateway drug or it may cause a white female to date a black male was what they used when they first banned it. Henry Ford was planning to grow cars from the ground and he was going to use Hemp to achieve this goal. Mr. Ford was already using Hemp as fuel and he had made car parts from them also. The tree industry did not want to compete with Hemp because the paper from trees is fragile compared to hemp paper. They wanted to make more money and trees were plentiful. Well today Forrest are gone and they cannot do their job which was to protect the earth. Hemp could be used ever season over and over without hurting the ground. Do you realize how much money and trees we will save and all the money will stay in the US. If we started using hemp for fuel we could wean ourselves off of foreign oil after we change over pumps. Even today people are starting to use Hemp seeds as food because they are the most nutritious of all foods. So why would the government either make you buy them from a controlled store instead of letting you grow and eat your own?

      Our country and your state has a huge health care industry but we has no way to pay for it without borrowing or raising money every workers taxes which will cripple the nation. If the US wants people to be healthy then let people use hemp as medicine and stop discriminating between sick people or people who just need the natural plant as a stress reliever. Let people grown hemp on property owned and even encourage Hemp planting like President Washington and also in 1942 when Hemp was grown to win the war. Gangs would be gone in one day in California. Less crime and death at the border.Please allow this for your state and our country to survive. I believe anyone responsible for this bill would be recognized in history as a savior.

      George Washington told everyone to grow hemp and he said it was the most important plant on earth with so many uses. Even though Hemp was illegal in 1938 the US lifted the ban in 1942 for the war. The name of the campaign was "Hemp for Victory" You would love it and you can find it on YouTube. People grew hemp and got paid for what they sold. People turned the plant into tents, clothes, rope, sails, and anything else the troops needed. Hemp won the war and it is the only thing that will save this country. Why no one has talked about this puzzles me. Does everyone like to see humans treated like slaves?

    19. Andrew, Winnipeg Man says:

      splitting hairs won't make you look any smarter, maher was making a point, we rely far too much on crude oil, that was the point he was trying to make. Pointing out that he was only half right, only makes you half right, which only makes you look half smart, congrats.

    20. Kurt, Bella Vista, A says:

      When Brazil started announcing the Tupi and other major offshore oil discoveries two years ago, it was reported that the nation's president Luis Inacio "Lula" da Silva said that his goal was ALWAYS for Brazil to become a major worldwide producer/exporter of petroleum, not sugarcane ethanol.

    21. S Jamison, Rockaway says:

      "As usual Maher has taken to task his some of his most powerful and persistent

      foes: the facts, the truth and the thought process. It’s no wonder the liberals love


      Facts, truth, and thought process?

      He is selective with his facts, intentionally omits truth that runs counter to them, and his thought process is to prove a thesis to his audience by convincing them all of America is stupid, except of course for him and anyone that just swallows anything he says without questioning it. Then you are smart, educated and cosmopolitan. He convinces the stupid by (in his own words,) implication and inflection, rather than real education. His smarmy, self-righteous attitude leading you to the conclusion he wants you to reach rather than presenting a real, complete line of facts. Nearly always his thesis requires a leap of faith which he expects you to take or clearly you are ignorant.

      That said, I watch because it is entertaining. Once in a while he makes a really good point in a brilliant fashion. "God created fags so he could hate them," is genius, but you do have to have a functioning brain to get it. (I often wonder if those gems are his or his writers.)

      Then he says something like, "Everyone believes in global warming, except Mr. Potatohead," and I'll heave something heavy at the screen (new televisions don't tolerate that like my old glass on, BTW.) Sure, Bill, I too believe in global warming. Fact: global temperatures are rising. As it has been for about the last 10,000 years since there was a few thousand feet of ice over my head where I sit. We wobble on our axis, our orbit is anything but perfect, and the sun just won't cooperate and radiate evenly, and I'm supposed to buy that the miniscule percentage of CO2 added by humans caused this in 100 years?

      OK, so let's say for one moment I buy the premise that anthropogenic CO2 is the cause of all our problems. Your solution is Cap and Trade and you want us to up-end the economy so some idiots can get rich trading pieces of paper that say "carbon credit" on them? Umm, Bill there are some side-effects to that solution which will hurt jobs, make us less globally competitive, and do *nothing* for the environment. (and he complains about other hosts shilling for the establishment.)

      Yeah, Bill, yours is the superior intellect.

      Please, Bill, (wiping tear from my eye) drag me kicking and screaming into the 19th century and rescue me from the La Brea Tar Pit of ignorance. I need you on television to (SNOOORT, blowing nose) teach me how to think with your amazing thought processes.

      I'm not sure who is more of an idiot, him, or me for watching.

    22. S Jamison, Rockaway says:

      Hey, if you are just going to delete posts awaiting moderation put a cut off date on posting ability.

      I spent 20' on that response, to just have it deleted kinda sucked.

      Love your site, am going to donate today.


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    24. Joe says:

      Bill is used to being on his show and just spewing whatever BS he wants.

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