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      I used to get paid to watch these things. I don’t any more.  So… I’m going to go read a nice novel in a coffee shop.  Please feel free to talk about the debate in comments.  I will, actually, be curious to hear what people have to say, just not willing to sit thru so […]
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They came for the chemists, but I said nothing

because I was not a chemist.  And why would I want to stick up for pharma chemists anyway?

Right?

We came behind the steelworkers, computer programmers and factory workers.  How many of us said anything?

This evening, I ran into a former colleague of mine in the grocery store.  She’s a chemist and one of the lucky few who has a job in Massachusetts.  She’s also Chinese but has been here for a long time.  Even though she has a job, she knows it could be temporary.  The lab she is moving to is much smaller and dingier than the one she is leaving.  She says she feels like a grad student again.

She told me that Astra-Zeneca just closed a new lab facility.  Beautiful new labs, closed, and everyone laid off.  The CEO is walking away with $65,000,000.  She’s beyond disgusted.  But there was something even worse on the horizon.  She says that the industry is adopting the work habits of the Chinese.  In China, employees live away from their kids.  The grandparents look after them.  They might live halfway across the country.  It is expected.  In fact, there are a lot of things that the Chinese put up with that Americans are now going to have to put up with.

This is the way it is.  We’re going to have the lifestyle of the Chinese with none of the benefits.

And when I say we, I mean YOU too.  We are the high tech, educated, cutting edge life scientists and this is the way the new business model is going to treat us.  You’re next.

If you don’t say anything, they win.

30 Responses

  1. I was thinking about this tonight as I grunted bulldozer parts.

    These Wall Street guys probably have family that fought and died in Korea or Vietnam. Or worse were captured and tortured by the Communist Chinese. Yet when the chance came they sent business to those same people putting some of those American vets out of work. Another instance proving that Wall Street has no conscience and neither does Obama, Pelosi, or Reid.

    On the way home yesterday the radio news had an item about the trial of some sports figure who lied to congress about using growth hormone. Would that they showed the same zeal going after those that wrecked our economy. The lesson to be learned here is that if you are a pro athlete you better pony up them campaign bucks so as not to end up being grilled by some committee.

    On another note, Elizabeth Warren must be closing in on Scott Brown because Rush Limbaugh and other AM Hate Radio spewers are attacking her.

    • Nor does anyone who still supports Free Trade Agreements in general (leaving aside a particular FTA whose name I dare not name unless I can find the particular numbers and bring them back here), now that the results are plain to see.

      Free Trade is the new Slavery.
      Protectionism is the new Abolition.

      There is no future for any high-value anything in this country until it is made safe-to-develop behind an electrified poison-bard razor wire fence of protection with a free field-of-fire bare-earth strip around it. Protectionism is what allowed America to develop fastest and hardest from the Civil War to post World War II, and Free Trade is what facilitated the systematic asset stripping and deliberate destruction of everything that was developed between the Civil War and WWII. The goal of Free Trade is to turn America into a Corn/Soy/Coal version of a banana republic. If anyone STILL doesn’t believe that after everything that has been perpetrated against us, just watch twenty more years of Free Trade at work.

  2. YUP
    You got it.
    But be sure to waste time with the Hillary is Better than….??? or Liz Warren is the Hero…routine.
    That one will really let you down.
    Wide Asleep in America

    Breton

    • Better than wasting time waiting for Obama to act like a Democrat.

    • Well . . . if the so-called “Democratic” Party replaced Obama with HRC at the top of the ticket, I would give Clinton-Biden a whirl in 2012.
      It really could be better than Obama-Biden in 2012. It might at least slow down the Bi Partisan Catfood Commission Conspiracy against Medicare and Social Security.

      Clinton may be “just another Democrat”, but I don’t think she is a Ryan-Norquist Democrat like Dog Shit Barry clearly is. Nor is she necessarily a “Bormann Democrat” like Nancy Pelosi may very well be.http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-673-nancy-pelosi-bormann-democrat/

      • Sure, why not.
        Give THAT one a whirl ?!
        Hope is a strategy?
        Try this view:
        http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2012/05/jonathan-miller-uncompromised-view-of.html

        Breton

        • I have only a few minutes left on my break. At lunch I will read the link you have given me. It may change my mind. But for now ( before I have read your link when I have the time to read it properly) all I can say is . . . sure, why not give hope a whirl?

          If the D party removes Obama and installs HRC in his place at the top of the ticket, I’ll give hope a whirl ( unless your article changes my mind for 2012).

          • What is really fascinating these days is a small minority (and yes this is a small minority here) is debating and considering the Future of the USA re: Politics as usual.
            Is it hopeless?
            Is it time to panic?
            Is it okay to give “this” or them another try?

            One sees it in various places:
            http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/38176/
            This guy revels in assigning blame on the Citizens as he contends we are sheep and have allowed this madness to prevail.

            Reality is closer to the proposition that the Forces arrayed against us, the USA, are global in nature (read: Corporate Financial entities and the basic ideals of the American Culture) and far superior to anything electoral politics can muster.

            One who even recognizes very serious problems in our Trajectory is a rare bird
            Effective action to trun this big ship is years away barring a major Crisis.
            Heck the near fatal blow-up of the World Fin System in 2008 seems like a blip on the screen now…”Steady as she goes, Full Steam ahead.”

            Breton

          • It’s not hopeless
            It’s not time to panic
            But I would definitely get your affairs in order. The financial MOTU *think* they are superior and all powerful but in actuality, they are out of control, like a program that went off the reservation and is about to crash your system.
            They don’t operate in the same world reality as we do. They don’t see cause and effect the way we do. So, they don’t know that they are already undermining their own system. I believe a bigger crash is possible unless governments around the world make a commitment to stop it. And I have no doubt that they have the means to call a halt to the wild behavior. All they need is a will.
            By the way, the worst thing you could do at this point is re-elect Obama. It doesn’t matter who occupies the White House. Congress is the bigger deal. And re-electing him doesn’t send a message to the Democrats to clean up their party. Both parties are corrupt but only one party is insane.

        • I read the linked-to article ( and skimmed the interview-bits the article itself linked to). David Emory and Jeff Wells have a lot to say here. In the short-term mean-time, I can either vote or not vote . . . or vote about this and not that . . . for one reason or another.
          If the Ds take Obama off the ticket and put HRC or Harkin or Sanders or someone like that on the ticket in Obama’s place, I’ll give hope a whirl and vote for that ticket. If the Ds leave Obama on the ticket, I’ll vote my hate and vote to defeat Obama. In that event, I will vote for downticket Ds in hopes of gridlocking a President Romney and
          giving the Ds “one last chance” to pretend to support Social Security and Medicare. If they make a credible pretense of that, we will have bought some time to try deciding which Ds pretended more credibly than others. The least credible ones, or the ones who didn’t even try, would be targeted for replacement in further elections. That would be giving strategy a whirl.
          Several threads ago I said that I would lift one finger towards trying to “vote for change” through electoral channels. Tjhat would be my citizenship tithe. The other nine fingers would be lifted towards building Survivalism at various levels . . . personal, neighborhood, community, hopefully regional and maybe even state-level after that if enough other people decide to do the same. People like Ran Prieur, Dmitri Orlov, Catherine Austin Fitts, John Robb, Sharon Astyk, and hundreds of others are giving all kinds of good advice about various aspects of building Survivalism.

  3. Off topic: I stumbled across this site that has scientific papers online.
    RD & any other scientists here may know about it already, but just in case:

    http://www.springerlink.com/

  4. I heard about AZ closing their Montreal research lab. Are they closing one in the U.S., too?

    • The Montreal one was the one I heard about. Apparently, they were brand new labs. What a waste. You know why it’s a waste? Because there are facilities there but no one I know will be able to afford to rent them. So they’ll sit there unused.
      It’s could be even worse than that. In Pearl River, Wyeth built a building for some specific purpose that I can’t even remember what it was for (might have been compound storage and retrieval). When Pfizer bought them, they were just putting the finishing touches on that building. Last I heard, it was slated for demolition. It was going to cost more to keep it than get rid of it.
      Astra-Zeneca also had some labs in Maryland? Delaware? Can’t remember. I think it was Maryland. The building was emptied. Everyone was laid off or relocated. Big empty labs. A little out of date but probably still useful to someone who needs lab space cheap. Nope. Too much overhead to keep them open so, A-Z is tearing them down.
      Then there are the two sites I used to work at. Wyeth in Princeton is located right across the street from The Wall Street Journal. Right after 9/11, the site installed barrier walls to keep terrorists from car bombing the WSJ. That was fun to drive past in the evening. Gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling (not). Oh, and we had visits from the FBI right after the anthrax attacks happened because we were located at anthrax central with the Rocky Hill and Princeton post offices near by. Plus, all that liophilizing equipment…. Well, you get the picture. All of the local pharmas were investigated.
      Anyway, that lab building was built in the 80s. Nice building. It had transgenic animal facility tacked on when I was there. So, it would be a perfect building for a small to medium sized biotech. What are they doing with it? Beats me. As far as I know, it’s just sitting there.
      The most recent facility I worked at was a full site with multiple lab buildings. I worked in a state of the art lab that was designed by the scientists. Lots of natural light so most of the time in my office, I never used the overhead light. There was a garden in the foyer with a water feature. It was very soothing. But even when I was working there, the labs had a low occupation rate. There was no shortage of lab space for chemists, er, because there weren’t that many chemists.
      They rented out part of the bottom floor of our building to a subsidiary company. Wouldn’t you know, that subsidiary company took our crystallography suite. Of all of the empty labs it had to choose from, it chose ours and displaced us. We moved twice in the last year that I was there. Yep, lots of schlepping of reagents and crystals in hanging drop wells from one room to the next and from one building to the next. The robotics were displaced- twice. It was a nightmare.
      Where was I?
      Oh, yeah, that site is now closed. I don’t know if the subsidiary moved out but last I heard, the company I worked for had trouble finding renters. Well, there is so much lab space to choose from nowadays. It’s a renter’s market. That is, if the renters had any money. Which they don’t. Meanwhile, I am collaborating on a project at a university where the entire drug discovery chemistry, pharmacology and screening is confined in some very cramped, very dingy academic labs. And you know, if that’s all you have access to and if they pay their employees to do science, which they can’t do anywhere else, then you learn to look past that. But it’s kind of hard to chew on the fact that there are all these brand new facilities all around the tri-state area that are sitting idle and abandoned with nice fume hoods and plenty of space, because no one can afford to occupy them and the companies that shuttered them want to make money off of them or tear them down.
      It’s a waste. And who does it benefit? What do the shareholders get out of it? What about society at large? All people think about now is extracting the most amount of money from people who are least likely to have any.

      • It would appear that “the shareholders” are themselves merely a handy excuse for looting by high-level managers and financial sector manipulators and racketeers. And also just another handy target.

      • All people think about now is extracting the most amount of money from people who are least likely to have any.

        I believe the formal term for this is “subjecting them to a wealth pump”.

        • In the sense that the Archdruid has written of?

          • You bet. Wall Street is using it to drain every penny of the wealth that the English-speaking world built up over the past several hundred years, leaving it an utter economic wasteland.

          • ( Reply to Nakajima Kikka really . . . )

            Then “an” answer would be to create and build one’s wealth in unmonetizable form so that Wall Street (or whoever that stands for)
            would not be able to suck it up. With all the value that Wall Street has sucked out of money and monetized funds of every kind, Wall Street has not yet sucked a single sardine out the side of a single one of my cans of sardines. There is a lesson in that somewhere, if we can learn what it is and learn how to apply it.

          • Question: if they are draining wealth or at least money FROM the English speaking world, where are they draining it TO? Somewhere visible, traceable, and attackable by whatever means?

      • And to top all that off, it looks like it’s going to be REAL tough for those small pharma start-ups founded by laid-off pharma chemists to take the IPO route to financial stability.

        http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2012/05/03/the_biotech_class_of_the_early_90s.php

      • More bad news. Check out “The Biotech Class of the Early 90’s” on Pipeline. IPOs are no longer a viable option for the new small pharma start-ups being founded by laid-off chemists. Friends and family are going to have to dig deeper, I guess.

        • Nah-gah-happen. There is no f^&*ing way your friends and family have enough money to start a biotech company and fund it for the number of years it takes to get a drug.
          So, that whole “entrepreneurial” bullshit that keeps getting pushed at us is DOA. We are not all going to become small businesses running labs in our garage and pioneering individualist innovators. Large companies are not going to have the pick of potential blockbusters to license in. In other words, the entire business model that the pharmas have bet on is a non-starter.
          And if you try to export all the research to China with the goal of trying to save money and then get lots of turnover in those chinese satellites and have to work scientists who have never been pushed to take chances, that’s going to be a very painful rude awakening. It’s not going to be fast, it isn’t going to be efficient. It will only be cheap- for awhile. But shareholders want it now. They don’t want to wait.
          Doesn’t matter. Cells don’t care.

          • If all else fails, the finance wizards could always impose a “First Circle” solution on the pharma chemists to try and force them to churn out blockbuster drugs.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_First_Circle

            Unlike inhabitants of other Wall Street labor camps, the pharma zeks were adequately fed (two weeks of whole grain bread and butter every month!) and enjoy good working conditions; however if they found disfavor with the authorities, they could be instantly shipped to Alaska.

          • I was hoping for more of a Manhattan Project with microbes as the enemy. This siberia thing is a lot less appealing.
            Nevertheless, if R&D is going to exist in this country, the government is going to have to step in and save it.

          • I wonder whether “shareholders” want it now, or whether it is the self-appointed “shareholder spokesfolk” who want it now, in other words; the financialist racketeers.

            Millions of anonymous share-hamsters have never even thought about these issues, nor do they (we) have any power to decide financialist racketeer strategy even if they (we) did think about these issues. After all, is it not “shareholders” who had value drained out of “their” shares when the financialists turned the 401ks into 201ks?

          • Sheesh, RD, you’re so negative.

            Surely all those friends and family could borrow the equity in their homes and cash out their 401Ks to kick-start those fledgling biotech and pharma start-ups and get them up and humming, no?

      • Could creative anti-corporate/ anti-finance lawyers look at this throw-new-labs-away behavior and see whether the corporations involved are violating some aspect of their corporate charter? If a case could be made that they are, could they have their charters challenged in the state of charter-issuance? If the charters could be successfully challenged and forcibly revoked, the physical resources ( new labs) could be set free for reassignment to beneficial use however strategised and tactically pursued.

        . . . and you know . . . in Argentina workers forcibly occupied and began-running-again factories which were shut and shuttered by their owners, for whatever the reason. Of course any scientists doing such a lab-squat and lab sit-in/take-over would face the same kind of viiolence that the GM sit down strikers faced in Flint in the 1930s. Worse, actually, because GM was afraid of harming its valuable machines whereas the lab-owners are already committed to destroying their valuable labs if necessary to prevent anyone from making productive use of them. But if disemployed scientists were ready to Squat The Labs, it would certainly be a rallying flashpoint.
        Whether science-sympathisers would organize heavily armed and trained militias to defend the scientists without the prior knowledge of those scientists would remain to be seen, and could not be counted on.

  5. Here is an interesting article about a CEO quasi-legally stealing money from the company he manages . . . including stealing money from the sharehamsters, I mean shareholders. He is based in Oklahoma, which goes to show that the problem is bigger than just Wall Street (as big a problem as Wall Street is), and that non-rich non-megablock sharehamsters are among the targetted lootees.

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