Meet the Press with Tim Russert

Discussion in 'Politics' started by SouthAmerica, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. .

    May 6, 2006

    SouthAmerica: Last Sunday I did watch Meet the Press with Tim Russert and some of the people that he interviewed were a waste of time such as the Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman and American Petroleum Institute President & CEO Red Cavaney these guys were in “La La Land” during the interview.

    Tim Russert mentioned the Brazilian Ethanol program and they talked about it for a minute but most of these guys were clueless by the difference of producing Ethanol from corn and sugar cane and so on….

    I am amazed by the level of incompetence of most cabinet members of the Bush administration – were George W. Bush found his crew?

    I would not be surprised if Samuel Bodman came from a company that sells energy drinks. Maybe when Bush asked him if he wanted to be Secretary of Energy – he thought that had something to do with caffeine, vitamins, Ginseng, and so on. Today, that man still confused regarding his responsibilities.

    I was watching that program and all I could do was shake my head and wonder how come the American people let this country get to the point that we are today.

    I know the Bush administration is in the mode of firing some people to shake things up –
    They can add the name of Samuel Bodman to that list in my opinion.

    Brazil has been distributing Ethanol all around Brazil for over 30 years – and Samuel Bodman said that Americans can’t figure out how to distribute Ethanol were needed around the United States. (What a Jackass)

    If you are so stupid here in the US – why don’t you hire a Brazilian company to do the distribution for you inside the United States? They know how to do it.


    Here I am quoting just a little from the transcript of that program.

    April 30, 2006 – Meet the Press with Tim Russert

    A special program on gas prices with Sec. of Energy Samuel Bodman, American Petroleum Institute Pres. & CEO Red Cavaney, CNBC's Jim Cramer; Asst. Dem. Leader Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, & author & energy analyst Daniel Yergin.

    MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday: This is a special edition. Why are gasoline prices going up and up and up? And what must America do to ensure we have the energy supply we need? With us, for the full hour, the secretary of energy, Samuel Bodman; the president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, Red Cavaney; the host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” Jim Cramer; the assistant Democratic leader, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois; and the author of “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, NBC energy analyst Daniel Yergin.
    MR. RUSSERT: Welcome, all. A lot to talk about this morning.

    And let’s start, we’ve been talking to folks all across the country about their concerns, and this is what we found out in our NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Which concerns—causes you most concern? $3 per gallon gasoline, 45 percent of Americans say that is their number one concern; more than a nuclear Iran, 33; illegal immigration, 26; civil disorder in Iraq, 23. Gas is on people’s minds. Who do you blame?

    Who’s responsible for the high gas prices? Oil companies, say 37 percent of Americans; 22 percent say oil-producing nations; 15 say George Bush; consumers blame themselves, 8 percent; federal regulations, 6 percent; U.S. Congress, 4 percent; automobile manufacturers, 2 percent.

    Secretary of energy, why has gasoline gone up at the pump 60 cents in a month?

    MR. SAMUEL BODMAN: First, oil prices have gone up, Tim. And that’s been a, a situation that we’ve been dealing with over the last, basically, year and a half. The suppliers have lost control of the market and, therefore, demand is, is—exceeds supply, and it’s a real issue?

    MR. RUSSERT: Why? Why? How have they lost control of the market? Why, why has oil gone up?

    MR. BODMAN: The oil has gone up because the suppliers are unable to make the kind of demand to make the flows equal to the demand. So we’ve got demand coming from China, from India, from the United States.

    … MR. BODMAN: We used four billion gallons of ethanol last year in, in our country. It’s expanding in its availability by 40 percent this year. So we have a supply of ethanol that I believe will be commensurate with the demands. What we have is a difficulty in, in the transportation, the movement of ethanol throughout our country. Most of it is made in Senator Durbin’s home, home state and surrounding areas in the Midwest, and the issue therefore is we need to get ethanol to areas where we need reformulated gasoline which is what ethanol is used for and that is the East Coast, that is the major metropolitan areas in Texas as well as the West Coast. And we’ve got to have ways of transporting the material there.

  2. .

    Pekelo: Problem is, that ethanol from corn is just as bad as petroleum based energy, because it is very energy consuming to produce and 8 times LESS effective than sugar-based ethanol.


    May 8, 2006

    SouthAmerica: And very soon the ratio will be 10 : 1 – since Brazil is figuring out ways to increase the ratio from 8 to 10.

    They are not only improving the ratio of production in Brazil – they are creating sugar cane plants that don’t need pesticides and so on.


    Libertad: It is because of the US sympathy to the Family Farm that agriculture receives the subsidies that it has received over the years...

    But it is because of these continued subsidies that the US will not be able to continue its quest towards globalization via the WTO etc...

    And it has been common knowledge for over 30 years that corn and other grain usage such as milo are not economical for fuel production both because of several reasons:

    competition with food prices


    SouthAmerica: It is a mistake to use the corn to produce Ethanol for various reasons.

    But a major reason is the increasing demand for corn to feed animals such as pigs, chickens, and cows – as the global demand for these animals increases mainly from China. ( as people move up on their standard of living they start consuming more of these products.)


    Libertad: I have no sympathy for the family farm subsidies...this is no different than welfare....Since when has the government subsidized most other American entrepreneurial businesses..


    SouthAmerica: Since the United States approved NAFTA – the subsidies that the US government gives to American farmers gave them a major advantage against the corn farmers in Mexico – and in the last 10 years the US corn farmers put most of the corn farmers from Mexico out of business – thousands of Mexican corn farmers lost their livelihood because they could not compete with US subsidized corn.

    The effect was devastating not only for the Mexican corn farmers but also to the communities around their farms in Mexico affecting local businesses and so on…


    Libertad: Brazil and the tropical climate countries have a natural advantage with sugar cane production in that sugar cane thrives in their climate....cane bagasse is used for energy in the conversion local labor....high yield per acre....has multiple market possibilities....

    The US has a temperate climate...the labor is expensive..etc...


    SouthAmerica: Yes Brazil has an advantage regarding its climate and type of soil necessary for good sugar cane production.

    The husks of sugar cane (the bagasse) are used for energy in the conversion process.
    After they extract the juice from the sugar cane to use for Ethanol production – they use the husks of the sugar cane to create the electric energy necessary to power the Ethanol refinery – but there is another dividend from this Brazilian process – they are creating with the husks of the sugar cane a lot more electric power than they need to produce the Ethanol – the extra electric power that they are generating with this process they are selling to the local electric power companies for them to distribute to their local customers.

    Millions of Brazilians are receiving on their homes electric power that was generated as a side bonus of the process of producing Ethanol.

    As you can see in Brazil they are further reducing their needs for oil since they are generating energy from the husks of sugar cane.

    You said: The US has a temperate climate...the labor is expensive..etc...

    You forgot that the US uses the cheap labor from Mexicans and many other illegal immigrants living in the US today. The Americans are so lost that they don’t even know how many illegal immigrants are living in the US today – could be as low as 12 million people or as high as 20 million people.

    The debate on American television is so silly that is not even worth watching.

    They don’t have a clue on how illegal immigrants come and stay in the United States.
    Some morons think that they are going to stop illegal immigration by building a wall in the border with Mexico. (all I can do is laugh about it.)

    If they think they have a bad problem with illegal immigration today – just wait until they have the new airplanes that people will be able to fly stand in instead of sitting down on their chair. (They will be able to fit a lot more illegal immigrants when they can come to the US standing in since the airplane ticket probably will be at the reach of the poorest people from around the world.)


    Vhehm: Jim Cramer was on that show. He said we could lower prices by importing Brazilian ethanol.


    SouthAmerica: As you know I write for a number of Brazilian newspapers and magazine.

    I also have cousins who are well known columnists in Brazil and they write for the major Brazilian newspapers such as “O Estado de Sao Paulo” that is equivalent to The New York Times here in the US.

    I am going to write articles and talk to my cousins in Brazil for them also write articles on the subject of exporting Ethanol from Brazil.

    Brazil has its act together and the last thing they need is for the US market start sucking the Ethanol from the needs inside Brazil.

    What the Brazilian government needs to do immediately is to pass a federal tax on Ethanol exported to other countries to discourage the exporting of Ethanol from the Brazilian local economy.

    They are in the process of building another 50 Ethanol refineries in Brazil to meet the local Ethanol demand in the coming years. Brazil needs all the Ethanol that it will produce in the coming years and Brazil can’t afford to sell the Ethanol to the highest bids from around the world.

    The Brazilian Ethanol export tax should go up according to the price of oil on the international market and always be a little higher to discourage people from buying Ethanol from Brazil.

  3. .

    May 9, 2006

    SouthAmerica: Bill Gates must have the best investment advisors in the world to help him invest his billions. He is also a good friend of Warren Buffet.

    I don’t understand why he just invested $ 84 million dollars on a company that produces Ethanol from corn.

    His investment advisors should know better than that – and I hope they know of all the advantages that Ethanol produced from sugar cane has over Ethanol produced from corn and the other stuff.

    Why did Bill Gates invested his money on a “1928 Ford T” when he could have invested instead on a “2028 Volvo.” (Today Volvo is part of the Ford Company.)


    “Gates pumps money into ethanol”
    According to an SEC filing, the Microsoft chairman holds a 25.5% stake in corn-fuel maker Pacific Ethanol.
    REUTERS - April 24, 2006

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bill Gates holds a 25.5-percent stake in Pacific Ethanol Inc., resulting from a private transaction with the maker of corn-based fuel, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

    Gates acquired 5.25 million shares convertible preferred stock on April 13 for $16 per share, the filing said. Those shares are convertible to 10.5 million shares of common stock.

    Pacific Ethanol is building an ethanol production facility in California and said in late March it hoped the deal with Cascade Investment, Gates's investment vehicle, would close by mid-April.

    In the SEC filing, Cascade said it acquired the common stock "for investment purposes only" and will continue to evaluate its ownership stake and voting position.

    Cascade said it would leave open the possibility of continuing to hold the stock, disposing of it or acquiring more in the open market or through private transactions, and entering into short sales or other hedging transactions.

    Pacific Ethanol -

    Pacific Ethanol, Inc.

    Pacific Ethanol Inc.'s mission is to become the West Coast's leading marketer and producer of renewable fuels. Our product line currently emphasizes clean-burning corn-based ethanol. With over twenty years of experience in biofuels development, we are strategically poised to meet the explosive demand for domestically sourced alternative fuels.

    About the Company

    Driven by Demand: Fueling Clean Air


    The energy bill passed by Congress last year requires an increase in ethanol use by refiners to 7.5 billion gallons by the year 2012 - nearly double the current total of roughly four billion gallons per year. The market for ethanol in the United States has grown dramatically in recent years as states across the country have banned MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether), a fuel additive formerly required to increase octane levels of gasoline. Ethanol is the only other commercially viable additive that will bring gasoline into compliance with state and federal clean air regulations. In 2003, Californians consumed 750 million gallons of ethanol; 2004 saw that number jump to 900 million gallons.

  4. .
    May 9, 2006

    SouthAmerica: On December 20, 2005 World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz visited the biggest plant in the world of sugar and Ethanol – Usina São Martinho in Ribeirao Preto/SP – Brazil.

    São Martinho, the largest Ethanol mill in the world, was visited in December 2005 by World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, and at that time the Brazilians suggested to Paul Wolfowitz the potential for Ethanol development in Africa. Brazil is the largest producer in the world of ethanol, a source of renewable energy. Brazil took the lead on this some 30 years ago, at a time when the world was looking for innovative sources of energy.


    World Bank – December 20, 2005
    Ethanol: Brazil Largest Producer in the World

    World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz today visited the Sao Martinho sugar and ethanol mill.

    December 20, 2005 — Brazil is the largest producer in the world of ethanol, a source of renewable energy. Brazil took the lead on this some 30 years ago, at a time when the world was looking for innovative sources of energy.

    São Martinho, the largest mill in the world, was visited today by Wolfowitz.
    After viewing the Sao Martinho mill, Wolfowitz said: "I was surprised by what I saw, I was very impressed by what I saw, it is an extraordinary productive operation that produces clean energy and with so much concern in the world about reducing carbon emissions it is terrific to see that it is actually possible on a basis that is competitive with fossil fuels to produce ethanol."

    During his visit, Wolfowitz met Eduardo Carvalho, President of UNICA (União of Sugar Cane Agro-Industry of São Paulo).

    Carvalho believes the Bank could be instrumental in helping transfer technology to African countries, which have the same climate of Brazil. He believes African nations could profit greatly from ethanol production, while at the same time helping the environment.

    Carvalho said: "The Bank has two important strategies, as was discussed at the G8 meeting in Gleaneagles, Scotland. It is global warming and Africa. Thinking about Africa and global warming we have an example here in Brazil of a successful experience with ethanol - a program that was supported by the Bank almost 30 years ago, with US$200 million.

    What we would like to see is the Bank taking the initiative to lead the expansion of the sugarcane culture and the ethanol program, because whatever we produce in ethanol is little if compared to the great demand there is for gasoline substitution. We think there is great potential in Africa for renewable energy and it would be fantastic if the Bank could help us with that to create a global market for ethanol."



    World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz Visits Brazil


  5. .

    Canyon man00: Just spoke to a realtor friend of mine also who told me about some land availability (he works with farm sales nationally) for this type of venture. He told me about several parcels in New Mexico that he knows of that are over 200 acres apiece, contiguous, and could be had for about $5,000 each. They have plenty of water, transportation access and no neighbors to speak of for complaining.

    Any information you might be able to contribute would be appreciated.


    May 8, 2006

    SouthAmerica: Before you invest any money first check if the land will be proper to cultivate sugar cane and also if the climate is right to grow sugar cane.

    Most of the sugar cane production in Brazil is done in the state of Sao Paulo. Look on a map and see the location of the state of Sao Paulo and compare it with the location of New Mexico.

    I don’t know much myself about sugar cane production but various members of my family in Brazil have large sugar cane plantations and sugar production and Ethanol refineries.

    A few months back someone on this message board asked me my opinion about Cuba.

    If you have some balls and some vision about the future you might be able to make good money by investing in the future of Cuba.

    Fidel is 80 years old and his health is not very good. I don’t know how long he still be around but when he is gone that will open the door for great investments opportunities in Cuba.

    By the way, Cuba is a great place for sugar cane production and it is not too far from the United States.

    See if you can spot some Canadian company that is investing in Cuba today and see if are positioning themselves in the area of sugar cane production and distribution.

    After Castro dies sugar cane production in Cuba will be a gold mine because of Ethanol.

    I am not sure if people are allowed to own land in Cuba today because they are a communist country (land for sugar production) – but as soon as Castro is dead all this will change very fast.

    You can bet on that.

  6. .

    May 16, 2006

    SouthAmerica: Reply to FastFred

    You can do your own research, but you can get the information that you are looking for regarding the sugar industry by contacting some of these people directly.



    Unica: São Paulo's representative in the sugar and alcohol industry
    Unica – the São Paulo Sugar Cane Agroindustry Union represents the sugar cane, sugar and alcohol business areas in the State of São Paulo, Brazil.
    There are three categories of associate industrial units:
    · the sugar and alcohol producers;
    · those that only produce alcohol; and
    · those that concentrate on sugar production.
    As the successor to several sectorial organizations in São Paulo, Unica, created in 1997, enabled the combination of institutional work into a single entity, strengthening the dialogue with the government and society.
    Recognized as a national reference center, Unica safeguards the statistical memory of Brazilian sugar cane, sugar and alcohol production. It keeps abreast of the progress achieved in the sector's technological area and fights to open foreign markets for sugar and alcohol.
    As the agency responsible for more than 60% of Brazilian production, it has a natural leadership position in the country that qualifies it to act as an intermediary with entities in the other producer States. More than 100 production units are Unica associates, including traditional sugar exporting groups.



    Copersucar is one of the largest sugar and alcohol producers in the world.

    With a diversified range of products, modern installations and its own port terminal, the Cooperative has helped Brazil become the most important sugar exporting country in the world.

    Quality and technology together, producing wealth for the country.


    Empral – Desenvolvimentos de Equipamentos Ltda.

    This engineering company is involved in many projects on the Ethanol industry in Brazil including the Usina Sao Martinho (San Martinho Refinery) which is the largest Ethanol refinery in the world.

    I want to remind you that Brazil has 357 ethanol refineries today, and is in the process of building another 50 refineries to keep up with the increasing demand for Ethanol.

  7. .

    May 16, 2006

    SouthAmerica: Today The Financial Times of London had a nice article about Brazil and its Ethanol industry. I hope Brazil can help Japan switch from a dependence on oil and help them develop a new Ethanol industry in Japan.

    This is good news for Brazil and for the people specialized on the ethanol production from sugar cane.


    “Ethanol puts power in Brazil's tank”
    By Alan Beattie
    Published: May 16 2006
    The Financial Times - UK

    For the world's gathering troupe of cheerleaders for ethanol as fuel for cars, the economic argument is clear. When produced at its cheapest, ethanol comfortably undercuts the price of petrol and emits far less carbon dioxide.

    But as well as heading off global warming, could ethanol also contribute to energy security as western governments fret about increasingly unpredictable and volatile supplies of oil and gas?

    By far the world's most efficient producer is Brazil, which distils ethanol from sugar cane. Brazil has about half the world's sugar export market and aims to produce 40 per cent more ethanol by 2010.

    Apart from its long campaign to persuade Washington to dismantle steep US import tariffs, Brazil recently reached an agreement with Japan, a big oil importer, to examine the potential for a switch towards ethanol. It is also talking to European governments. "The market is growing very quickly," Luiz Fernando Furlan, Brazil's trade minister, told the Financial Times last week. "It is good to see that there are moves in this direction around the world."

    The trend may also help Brazil to regain some of its influence in global policymaking circles after its eclipse by Latin America's radical axis of presidents Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

    Buoyed by soaring fuel prices, these presidents seem intent on playing politics with their oil and gas, with Mr Chávez insulting the leaders of the US and European Union while offering their poorer families subsidised petrol. Mr Chávez, seen by some as bent on exporting revolution, also buys regional influence by offering cheap fuel to central American and Caribbean countries. Brazil, meanwhile, exports both ethanol and the expertise to make it, which may be of more lasting benefit.

    Brazil's campaign of investment and technology transfer combines the "teach a man to fish" adage with tactical motives. First, it enlarges the global ethanol business and hence its lobbying power. Second, it may disarm some developing countries' resentment of Brazil's dominant role in world trade. Third, it promotes Brazil globally as a relatively moderate and apolitical supplier of fuel.

    "President Lula [da Silva] has made it clear that we should offer our technology and expertise in both ethanol and the automotive sector to other countries," Mr Furlan said, referring to the fact that Brazil is also a world leader in making "flexfuel" cars that run on either ethanol or petrol. He lists central American states such as Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica as potential ethanol exporters.

    A few years ago, Brazil famously won a case against the EU's sugar regime at the World Trade Organisation, since when Brussels has announced big cuts in guaranteed EU prices for sugar farmers. The landmark case helped further to elevate Brazil's considerable influence within the World Trade Organisation. But it was a blow for the poor African and Caribbean nations that had special access to the EU sugar market at three times the world price.

    By encouraging ethanol production and refining in the Caribbean, many of whose countries have special duty-free access to the US ethanol market, Brazil can both soften that blow and increase its own exports. Last year the Brazilian trading group Coimex started refining ethanol in Jamaica under a joint programme with Petrojam, Jamaica's state-owned oil refinery.

    Many of the Caribbean's distillers are too small and inefficient to make much use of the tariff-free allowance. Brazil's technology and investment may create one day a self-sustaining business in Jamaica. In the meantime, Brazilian sugar producers can in effect export ethanol to the US via the Caribbean, offering the Caribbeans a percentage of the take.

    The irony is that if the US does abolish its tariff permanently, those countries that are currently competitive only because of their tariff-free privileges might struggle to survive.

    Last week Marcelo Lessa, a senior official at the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, said it had received a slew of requests from round the world to invest in ethanol production, including some from central America.

    "We'll turn several [requests] down because we believe ethanol production has to be competitive with costs in Brazil," Mr Lessa told Reuters last week. "Otherwise you might be hurting a country economically."

  8. .

    June 19, 2006

    SouthAmerica: Yesterday, Tim Russert interviewed on his show “Meet the Press” - first Rep. John Murtha about his opinions on the Iraq civil war. His interview was very good.

    I was against the Iraq war before Bush (The Decider) decided to attack that country. And I believe the US can bring the US troops back home at any time without changing much what is going on inside Iraq – a nasty sectarian civil war that it will take its course until the Iraqis settle their scores and a new leader would rise to take power in that country.

    In the second part of his program Tim Russert interviewed “The Three Stooges” – the only problem is that their act was not funny.

    “The Three Stooges” must believe that the American people are close to being Brain Dead and they gave their usual bullshit about what is making the price of oil to go up and about their right for very high profits – Exxon Mobil alone made $ 36.1 billion dollars in profits in 2005.

    “The Three Stooges” did not mentioned a word about their responsibility in helping pay the costs related to the Iraq war (over $ 300 billion dollars so far) to secure new sources of oil in the Middle East for the oil companies to make obscene profits in the future.

    The cost of the Iraq war should be considered a cost of doing business for the American oil companies and the US government should send them a bill related to the costs of the Iraq war – not the entire cost of the war, but a large chunk of the total cost.

    One of the 3 stooges – James Mulva – even try to give misinformation to the American public by trying to minimize the success in Brazil of the Ethanol program. There are two possibilities here – 1) He is clueless of what is happening in Brazil regarding Ethanol production and usage. Or 2) He was being dishonest and trying to give misinformation regarding Ethanol production in Brazil to the audience of Meet the Press.

    One of the stooges did not appreciated when Russert mentioned the humongous salary and bonus given by Exxon Mobil to the 4th stooge - Lee R. Raymond, Exxon Mobil CEO - retired as of December 31, 2005.

    Regarding these clowns efforts in trying to make the US energy independent – the opinion of the current Exxon Mobil CEO summarize the oil industry position it in a nutshell. (see a summary of his recent speech below)


    “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert
    Sunday, June 18, 2006

    First, Tim Russert interviewed Rep. John Murtha, D-PA, on Iraq & politics. Then, a rare & exclusive discussion with the top executives from three of the nation's big oil companies: Shell Oil's President John Hofmeister; ConocoPhillips Chrmn. & CEO James Mulva; & Chevron's Chrmn. & CEO David O'Reilly.

    Russert turned to gas prices with a historic, exclusive interview with the heads of three of the major oil companies, all together on the "Meet the Press" set: John Hofmeister, the President and U.S. Country Chair, Shell Oil; James Mulva, the Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips Corporation; and David O'Reilly, the Chairman and CEO of Chevron Corporation. All three leading businessman will share their views on the rising prices at the pump, the effect the war and Hurricane season will have on our markets, and whether an energy independent America is a future possibility.


    “Exxon Mobil CEO calls for an end to ethanol subsidies”
    March 9, 2006

    Exxon Mobil Corp., after posting a record $36.1 billion in profit last year from surging oil prices, said the United States should end 28 years of subsidies for a competing fuel made from corn because the subsidies benefit domestic growers.

    "We've never been a supporter of subsidies under any conditions because they distort market signals," chairman and Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said in a New York interview Tuesday. "What the government has done is stick a filter between the signals of the market and consumers. The fact that the subsidies exist shows it's not a viable alternative."

    Tillerson rejected President George W. Bush's call for increased government aid for ethanol, a form of grain alcohol that's blended into about one-third of U.S. gasoline. Surging energy prices helped Exxon to the most profitable year ever for a U.S. company. Tillerson's comments drew the ire of corn and ethanol producers.

    "In the face of pornographic profits being made by oil companies and the reality of higher gas prices this year, it is outrageous for an executive for big oil to actually suggest getting rid of the tax credit for ethanol," said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol in Sioux Falls, S.D.

    Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil is the world's largest publicly traded oil company and the biggest maker of gasoline. Corn is the biggest U.S. crop.
    United States consumers used about 4 billion gallons of ethanol last year, and legislation Congress passed in 2005 mandated that oil companies blend 7.5 billion gallons of the fuel into gasoline each year by 2012.

    To foster more ethanol use, the federal government provides a 51-cent tax break to wholesalers and refiners for every gallon of the additive blended into gasoline. Some states also try to support the ethanol industry with mandates and subsidies. Most gasoline blends use 10% ethanol, for a 5.1 cent-per-gallon subsidy.

    Growers and ethanol producers said government subsidies benefit more than 300,000 U.S. growers, support an alternative to imported oil and create jobs and tax revenue in rural economies.

    The Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group based in Washington, estimates the U.S. ethanol industry contributed about $32 billion to the economy last year. That included about $6 billion in farm income and $5 billion in household income; the industry generated almost $3.6 billion in taxes.

    Exxon Mobil buys almost 10% of the ethanol produced in the United States. It and other refiners like BP Plc and Valero Energy Corp., have used more of the additive in the last five years, after states banned the additive MTBE because of concern about it polluting groundwater.

    Some companies are "reluctant to give up any market share because it is a threat to the oil industry monopoly," said Rick Tolman, CEO of the 33,000-member National Corn Growers Association in St. Louis. "Let consumers choose, and they will pick ethanol for its environmental benefits and reduction in foreign oil dependence."

  9. .

    June 23, 2006

    SouthAmerica: There is a lot that the United States can learn from Brazil regarding the energy field.

    My question is:

    Why the United States is so far behind Brazil regarding the new technologies of the future in the energy area?


    “Brazil breakthrough plants idea of growing fuel oils in the fields”
    By Jonathan Wheatley in Sao Paulo
    The Financial Times – UK
    Jun 23, 2006

    For the second in a series of industrial tests of a modified form of diesel, it was an extraordinary turn-out.

    On hand at the President Getúlio Vargas refinery in Araucária, southern Brazil, this week were the president, two state governors, three ministers, three ambassadors and various senators and federal deputies, along with the president and hundreds of other employees of Petrobras, the government-owned oil group, their families and residents.

    There was a lot of pomp and a lot of changing into and out of boiler suits and lounge suits. One reason was nothing to do with diesel: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will declare his candidacy in October's elections this weekend and he is grabbing every opportunity to inaugurate whatever he can before he is barred from confusing presidential duties with electioneering from July 1.

    But the new diesel itself is worth the attention. Petrobras calls it H-Bio and Roberto Rodrigues, the agriculture minister, says it heralds "the construction of a new age - the age of agro energy".

    H-Bio uses vegetable oil but is not to be confused with biodiesel, the green fuel already in widespread use in Brazil and elsewhere.

    Rather, H-Bio uses a process in which refined vegetable oil - made from soya, sunflowers and a variety of other sources - is mixed with ordinary mineral diesel oil during the refining process to produce a diesel that in practical terms is indistinguishable from any other, although of higher quality than that normally produced in Brazil.

    The process was developed by Petrobras over the past 18 months and its details, currently the subject of a patent application, are being kept secret. But it is cheap. Most of the $38m (€30m, £21m) Petrobras plans to invest in the initial phase of production at three refineries this year and next will be spent on storage and supply lines.

    During tests, vegetable oil is being mixed with mineral diesel at the ratio of 18 per cent. In production the amount will vary initially between about 10 and 15 per cent. The plan in the first phase is to use 256,000 cubic metres of vegetable oil a year, enough to substitute imports of diesel oil worth $145m. That would rise to 425,000 cubic metres in 2008, substituting diesel imports worth $240m.

    The numbers are not enormous. At first, H-Bio will represent just 1 to 1.5 per cent of diesel oil consumed in Brazil. But its implications may be revolutionary.

    Like biodiesel and flex fuel technology - which allows motorists to choose at the pump whether to fill up with petrol or fuel alcohol and is present in almost all new cars sold in Brazil - H-Bio puts Brazil at the forefront of the development of green, alternative fuels. While flex fuel gives consumers freedom of choice at the time of purchase, H-Bio goes a stage further in requiring no engine modification at all.

    "In 15 years we will be living in a different fuel world," says Jean-Paul Prates, an industry analyst in Rio de Janeiro. "A big part of the fossil fuel economy is transport costs. Now there is an alternative and, if it grows, the geopolitics of fuels will change completely. Even Iraq and Saudi Arabia will lose their dominance."

    The notion that fuel oils could be planted in the fields rather than brought up from under the earth is a compelling one.

    The immediate impact may not be great. Mr Rodrigues, the agriculture minister, says use of soya for biodiesel and H-Bio, for example, will account for 2 per cent of Brazil's crop to start with, rising from 2008 to about 4 per cent.
    But while Brazil has no plans to export H-Bio fuel itself, it does plan to make royalties from exporting its technology. The implications could then be far-reaching.

    "Imagine what the United States could do by putting soya oil in crude oil," Mr Rodrigues says. "We are opening up new horizons for agriculture and for the oil industry."

  10. .

    July 16, 2006

    SouthAmerica: Talking about over reacting - I guess Newt Gingrich went Bananas – He believes that we are in the early stages of what he would describe as WW III.

    He is a real basket case – how anybody still take that guy seriously it is beyond my comprehension.


    Meet the Press with Tim Russert - July 16, 2006
    Interview with Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

    MR. NEWT GINGRICH: … Look what you’ve been covering: North Korea firing missiles. We say there’ll be consequences, there are none. The North Koreans fire seven missiles on our Fourth of July; bombs going off in Mumbai, India; a war in Afghanistan with sanctuaries in Pakistan. As I said a minute ago, the, the Iran/Syria/Hamas/Hezbollah alliance. A war in Iraq funded largely from Saudi Arabia and supplied largely from Syria and Iran.

    …I mean, we are in the early stages of what I would describe as the third world war, and frankly, our bureaucracies aren’t responding fast enough, we don’t have the right attitude about this, and this is the 58th year of the war to destroy Israel.

    MR. RUSSERT: This is World War III?

    MR. GINGRICH: I, I believe if you take all the countries I just listed, that you’ve been covering, put them on a map, look at all the different connectivity, you’d have to say to yourself this is, in fact, World War III.

    #10     Jul 17, 2006