Associated Press Limited Release
BREAKING NEWS After a three week standoff in Los Angeles county between rioters and the California National Guard, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered the withdrawal of all military personnel to points just north and east of the county lines.
During the first year of the Obama administration unemployment skyrocketed when financial giants Bank of America and Citigroup were unable to be recapitalized under the presidents fiscal stimulus package. Both banks were on the table to be nationalized with a total cost to the government approaching $6 trillion dollars. Both China and many oil rich OPEC nations vocalized an intent to withdraw interest from US debt as the President Obama began to consider the ramifications of doubling the national deficit in his first year in office. Under advisement from Treasury Secretary Geithner, the federal government declined assistance to either firm which drove both to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in June.
The FDIC announced shortly after the failures that they would be temporarily unable to refund insured depositor's accounts due to the size and scope of handling the huge sum of assets held by both banks. After depositors were unable to withdraw funds from either bank, people concerned for their savings, began to run on other banks. This cascaded during the fall of 2009 until the US Treasury froze all transactions in a FDR reminiscent two week bank holiday. However, the holiday lead to even more disruption in the financial markets and when banks were allowed to reopen, nearly a third of them were either in talks with legal firms about bankruptcy protection or had filed for it.
Despite many economists' claims that a rebound was in the making, 2009 became the worst year in US history in terms of employment and economic growth. With much of the banking industry still in complete disarray as a result of the BAC and C failures, hardly any business has been able to secure lines of credit to fund simple day to day operations. Job losses quickly rose from several hundred thousand every month to a height in excess of one million per month in the Christmas season of 2009. States across the nation began raising fees and taxes while deeply cutting social benefits in order to offset falling tax revenue.
2010 became a year of desperation and escalating violence with unemployment approaching 35% using the Bureau of Labor Statistics measurement and some independent sources claiming a number closer to 47%. With most state and federal level assistance cut to offset the decline in revenue, the number of homeless families has risen nearly 400% from the levels seen in 2007.
All of which only underscores the tragedy in California. Tensions turned into open violence when food banks in the city of Carson were overwhelmed by demand. Event organizers had predicted between three and five thousand people to come seeking free eggs, milk, and flour at the Harbour Community Chapel. When 30 thousand hungry people began lining up, the organizers became concerned that when they began to turn people away they may riot. The Los Angeles County Sherrifs and Carson Police departments arrived in order to ensure an orderly disbursement of the crowd following the event.
What triggered the group to riot is still unclear. Some group behavior analysts believe they became agitated by the police presence. Others point to the lack in social services while public servants still hold down some of the highest pay in the nation. What is clear is that on August 7th, 2010, the crowd overran the food bank, killing two volunteers and 6 police officers. From there the size of the crowd swelled from 30,000 to 85,000 and began ransacking local department stores, grocers, and restaurants looking for food, clothing, and water. The riot quickly spread to Compton, Torrence, Long Beach, and parts of Gardena. The local police departments were unable to suppress the riots, and in much the same fashion of the Rodney King riots, only acted to contain the violence.
At 9:00 pm PST, Gov. Schwarzenegger direct the National Guard to seal off the interstate highways leading into the Los Angeles basin. Shortly afterward, reports began coming in that the crowd had turned east towards the Inland Empire. In a period of two weeks the entire southern California metropolitan area dissolved into complete social breakdown.
President Obama addressed the rioter's in a speech yesterday, calling the actions, "unamerican" and "totally against what the union represents." In an attempt to restore order to the LA metro area, the President directed marines from Camp Pendleton and army units from Ft. Irwin to enter the city and take it by force, in necessary. Gov. Schwarzenegger responded in a press conference that, "this is not the same thing as what happened during the King riots. These people are hungry, not upset because of a court ruling. They have seen their government fail them when they needed help the most. A military response at this point is only going to make matters worse."
Democratic leaders were quick to criticize Schwarzenegger's admonishment of the President's decision, pointing out the governor's allegiance to the Republican party.
The house and senate both authorized the suspension of habeas corpus, per the President's request, yesterday in a bill outlining the action to retake southern California from the rioters.
The military has already begun broadcasting into the metro area, instructing residents to remain in their homes or risk being shot if encountered on the street.