Rita Makrusina is fighting for the country that gave so much to her with a ‘Wake Up’ petition and rally in D.C. on March 31

Russian-born Rita Makrusina immigrated to America with her parents at age 11.

Her mother and father – who lived first-hand through their country’s stifling communism under Gorbachev and the Cold War – wanted something better for their daughter, and for themselves.

When the Makrusina family finally arrived in San Francisco in 2001 after waiting for what seemed an eternity to enter the U.S. legally with a green card, “it was a dream come true,” Rita tells The College FixRitaRussia

The threesome had a few thousand dollars to their name, some suitcases stuffed with belongings, and a belief in the promise that hard work in America opens doors wide with possibility. They moved into a small hotel room and got to work. Her father opened an import-export business, and her mother parlayed her time as a gymnast in Russia into opening a gymnastics studio.

“We did it 100 percent legally,” Rita says. “To us at the time, $2,000 was like $2 million dollars [to pay for the citizenship process]. We did not have it at all. We borrowed it from our friend.”

That friend, Sasha Alexander, gave the Makrusinas the money, and his only request in return was that his friends one day hosted him in their American RitaFamilyhouse with a white picket fence. “A year before he died, may he rest in peace, he came to our house,” Rita says, “and we barbecued together.”

As for Rita’s journey, her parents spent spare earnings in Latvia, Russia, on an English tutor, so when the preteen enrolled in school in the U.S., she tackled her studies. Rita worked so hard she earned a full-ride to the University of Southern California, where she majored in finance and fine arts.

There, she worked as a waitress and in the school’s finance department to help make ends meet while enjoying her time in a sorority and the College Republicans and maintaining the grades needed to keep her scholarship. Her parents even helped out, moving from their house into an apartment so they could send extra money to their daughter.

Rita graduated last May, and today – at age 21 – she works at her father’s import-export business and coaches a high school lacrosse team. Her mother’s gymnastics studio remains popular as well.

“I am very grateful to this country to get a higher education,” Rita says. “I believe I am the perfect example of the American dream.”

Yet here’s where the story takes a turn. Rita says the America she fell in love with is not the America she sees under the Obama administration. The country she is living in today resembles too closely the country she and her parents fled. Her parents have been negatively affected by Obamacare, too.

“He is implementing programs that scream ‘big government, big government, let me help the masses, everybody should have this, everybody should do this, everybody needs to be this,’” Rita says. “Excuse me. This is not a dictatorship, this is a democracy.”

“He pushes the limits on freedom and individuality, what we thrive on here,” she adds. “Americans need to put their game face on. We need reform.”

Rita doesn’t just talk the talk. She has launched a petition calling on Americans to “wake up.” It reads:

Citizens of the United States,

In December of 2014, our National Debt passed the $18 trillion dollar mark. Class Warfare has been ignited between American citizens across the country. ISIS is slaughtering men, women and children without loosing any sleep over it. There is poverty and addiction on the streets. The President has not taken initiative to create positive policy.

America once worked, and it will work again. I believe if we come together and remind Barack Obama that family, safety, faith, health, and service are very important to the people of the United States of America, we will succeed.

My name is Rita Makrusina and I believe we, the people, have the duty to support a strong GOP candidate to lead the Republican party to victory in the 2016 Election. Lets help true American values thrive in our lifetime, in our children’s lifetime and their grandchildren’s. The next President has to be the one to better our lives, and make the best country in the World work again.

Thank you for reading this petition. I hope you will come together as friends and give the Obama Administration a hard wake-up call before they sink the American dream.

Rita says she proudly stands behind the petition, which has garnered five signatures so far. But she says she does not want to see her adopted country destroyed by socialism. People must “wake up,” she says.

“I don’t want to wake up every day disappointed,” she says. “I don’t want to turn on the television … just to be disgusted.”

In addition to her petition, she will lead a “peaceful demonstration” in front of the White House on March 31. So far she is the only one signed up to go to her own “Wake Up” event. She’s not fazed.

“I am going to Washington D.C. and hopefully I am going to get some supporters to come out,” Rita says. “We are just going to walk. I don’t like signs, yelling, I just want to talk about … where America began … where democracy is supposed to be alive, and where the constitution is alive.”

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All of America was President Obama’s classroom Wednesday when the former professor stood at his podium to give us one of the most nauseating lectures on religious violence ever uttered by a U.S. president.

See, Obama thinks he’s our teacher. He thinks we all need to take a class on “Understanding Extremists 101.” His tone of voice during the “White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism” was incredibly patronizing, but several of his remarks were far worse.

He essentially gave America a lecture on why we must understand where ISIS is coming from. Sure they rape and kill children, behead Christians, and burn people alive – but they have legitimate grievances that date back to colonialism and the Crusades, our president believes.

The fact that the word “terrorists” managed to come out of his mouth was physically shocking.

Writing on Hot Air, Noah Rothman points out in a piece titled “Theology professor Obama declares America is ‘at war with people who have perverted Islam,'” that “Obama gave the nation exactly what it never knew it needed: Another self-indulgent, pedagogical lecture from the president on the roots of religious violence.”

In that approximately 30-minute speech, Obama meandered aimlessly all over the theistic and sociological map, touching on a number subjects or theories popular in the faculty lounge but never for so long as to fully articulate a comprehensive philosophy. If that verdict sounds harsh, it should. There was no reason to engage in this solipsistic example of streaming consciousness but for the president to flatter himself, bare his inner professor, and indulge in what he apparently believes are his superior intellectual faculties. In the process, he might have made things worse.

The president’s refusal to acknowledge that the epidemic of violence spreading across the world today has its roots in a dangerous strain of Islam has been conspicuous. In fact, he seems inclined to go out of his way in order to assure the public that no self-described Islamic terrorist is representative of Islam. That’s a fine sentiment; it is one that has been said many times in the past by a variety of political actors from across the ideological spectrum. Obama certainly is not the first American political figure to engage in theatrical displays so as to convey that America is not participating in a religious conflict. …

Whether or not that interpretation of Obama’s comments sounds right to you, it is undeniable that the United States is not in a more advantageous position today as a result of Obama’s sybaritic speech. It is unlikely that America stands on more strategic ground in the global war against Islamic radicalism because of Obama’s tortured attempts to obscure the precise nature of the enemy. Now, he has given America’s adversaries a brand new propagandistic tool. The world and the nation might be better served if the president stopped talking and instead focused on his responsibilities as commander-in-chief.

This is what happens when we elect a leftist professor as president.

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The chorus of folks lampooning President Obama’s “free community college” plan – an obvious attempt to pander to liberals and young people as well as further grow the size and scope of the federal government – continues to mount ahead of the State of the Union speech on Jan. 20, when the president is slated to tout his proposal.

The plan, estimated to cost $60 billion over 10 years, has been roundly criticized not only for its sky-high price tag as this nation staggers under debt and unfunded mandates, but for many, many other reasons as well.

Writing in TownHall.com, editor Conn Carroll sums up six reasons:

1) It Isn’t Free …
2) It Will Drown Community Colleges In Red Tape …
3) Too Many High School Students Aren’t Prepared For Community College …
4) Community College’s Have A Poor Track Record …
5) “Free” Tuition Will Drive Up Costs …
6) Government Spending Crowds Out Private Sector Solutions …

Then, over at Forbes, comes another six reasons penned by Professor Richard Vedder of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity:

1. The diverse nature of U.S. higher education is one of its strengths –we have 50 different ways of providing postsecondary education, and the nation has benefited from having diverse approaches. …
2. Second, a significant portion of persons going to community colleges come from at least moderately affluent families, and subsidizing their education more than presently is a waste of resources. …
3. Third, the recent post-graduation job experience is not very good for community college graduates, perhaps one reason why the popularity of these schools is in decline, with enrollments down significantly in the past four years. …
4. Fourth, why should we give “free” education at public community colleges, while at the same time the Obama Administration, through highly discriminatory regulatory policies, has virtually declared war on for-profit higher education? …
5. Fifth … the U.S. government’s finances are somewhat precarious, which has already led to its first credit downgrade in modern American history. …
6. Finally, the past large expenditures for federal student financial assistance, such as the Pell Grant and student loan programs, have contributed importantly to the tuition fee explosion.

Writing in the American Thinker, Michael Filozof – who says he has spent more than 15 years teaching at community colleges – declared “I cannot think of a worse idea than President Obama’s proposal for the federal government to provide ‘free’ community college tuition nationwide.”

Among his points:

1. The federal government has no business in education: Article 1, Sec. 8 of the Constitution enumerates the powers of the federal government. Education is not one of them. …

2. You get what you pay for: If community college becomes “free,” it will attract even more unserious students than the ones already enrolled in community colleges. …

3. Obama’s proposal will promote grade inflation: The Obama proposal is to provide “free” tuition for students who maintain a C+ average. This will almost certainly result in rampant grade inflation (which is prevalent already) …

4. Federally guaranteed tuition will increase inefficiency and patronage: Community colleges are often swamps of political patronage, nepotism, and favoritism.

And in case you missed it, The College Fix has also explained why it’s a horrible plan. Among our reasons, it’s another way in which the federal government treats young people as helpless saps who can only get ahead in life with the help of Uncle Sam.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix (@JenniferKabbany)

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IMAGE: Kerry M/ Flickr

Before I transferred to San Diego State University, I attended a community college.

That was back in the 1990s, and it was ludicrously cheap. I recall I paid about $90 bucks a class at Santa Barbara City College. I checked my old college’s website Thursday night for a cost comparison, and the price hasn’t gone up too much – it stands at roughly $150 a class now.

My point is – community college is not expensive. It’s not out of reach for low- to middle-class families. Not by a long shot. I paid my way through community college waiting tables at local restaurants. It was one of the best times of my life. Yes, my parents chipped in to help make ends meet, but by no means did I enjoy a free ride. JenniferKabbany

The experience taught me how to work hard, take care of myself, and be responsible and independent. It was a rite of passage I cherish to this day. I gained discipline, and came to understand the value of hard work and the enjoyment and satisfaction of a job well done.

Perhaps that is why, when I heard of President Obama’s new plan to make community college free, I immediately groaned. It’s a horrible idea.

Once again Obama – a.k.a. America’s Sugar Daddy – has shown that he wants to win the youth vote by appealing to its greedy, lazy, self-entitled side – and at the same time making them more dependent on the federal government. Because that’s how Democrats win votes.

If Obama really wanted to help young people, he’d teach them how to fish instead of giving them a fish everyday. His plan stands against the longstanding American principle of chasing the dream with rugged individualism and determination.

Where in our founding documents does it say federal and state coffers should shoulder higher education? For that matter, where does it say we are entitled to free birth control and cell phones? But I digress.

This plan would strap American taxpayers with tens of billions of dollars of new debt every year.

This at a time when the national debt stands at nearly $20 trillion dollars – and that’s not including the estimated $70 trillion in off-balance-sheet commitments from Medicare, Social Security, student loan guarantees and other future federal government promises that actually makes our debt stand at more like $90 trillion dollars, some economists have calculated.

The last thing this country needs is another massive entitlement.

And who gets to pay for all this debt? The young people Obama is claiming to want to help. If he really wanted to help young people, he’d propose Social Security reform, or overhaul the student loan racket.

The feds make billions of dollars off student loans annually. These government-backed loans – which are as easy to get as a gallon of milk at the store – have actually increased the price of a degree, as tuition prices have skyrocketed far greater than inflation rates and continue to do so because everyone can get a loan and school administrators know it.

With that, the incentive to keep costs down has vanished. School bureaucracy is far less efficient and bloated because of all the “free government money” being throw at it.

Obama’s free community college money is going to drive up the cost of community college – which has remained affordable for so long – and stick the rising expense directly on the backs of the American taxpayer.

Never does the price of something decrease when the government gets involved. Health insurance, anyone?

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix (@JenniferKabbany)

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IMAGE: SS&SS, Flickr

Twenty-five years ago, the Berlin Wall fell, and with it, the belief that communism held anything but oppression, stagnation, tyranny and evil. Why – after lessons we have learned from others – are we headed toward the same mistakes, thanks to the man voted into the highest office in the land?

Robert Kaufman, a professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, writes in The Daily Caller:

President Obama has governed as if the Reagan presidency, pivotal for bringing down the wall, represented an unfortunate deviation from the progressive path of greater government control at home and diminished American power abroad. …

The president has put the United States on a path to become a Western European type social democracy at the very moment that model has proved unsustainable. …

The nanny state, in Margaret Thatcher’s scornful appellation, seeks to impose what Tocqueville called soft despotism where government supplies all our needs and wants. What the world construes as American decline under Obama has enhanced the global appeal of authoritarian alternatives to the open society — particularly a rising, authoritarian, increasingly repressive and dangerous China. Ironically, too, President Obama insists on spending less on one area of government where the lessons of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism instruct we spare no expense: national defense. …

Putin’s implacable determination to subvert Ukraine’s independence demonstrates the fallacy of President Obama’s worldview that conciliating rather than deterring adversaries will save much blood toil, tears, and sweat. …

Read the full column.

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When President Barack Obama stumped for Democrats at Wayne State University in Michigan recently, he was greeted by a relativity small but rambunctious group of libertarian college students and other like-minded individuals who faced down strict cops and angry Obama fans to get their side out to the throng of loyal Democrats.

Ty Hicks, a student at Central Michigan University and Michigan state chair of Young Americans for Liberty, tells his side of the story in a blog post, where he describes how his group was met Saturday with “heavy resistance” – including security who reportedly refused to allow them on the campus. But they kept up the good fight, anyway. There were about a dozen students and about 40 conservative and pro-liberty activists.

Hicks writes:

The local police department was ordered to work with the Secret Service, and they claimed that the entire block where Obama was having his speech was “federal property” although it was at a public state university! While the pro-democratic participants were allowed to handYALprotest out literature where all of the people were, those of us with a different view had our First Amendment rights limited to the other side of the street, well away from the speech and the people. But we didn’t give up that easily.

So the college students and others moved to the end of the street where there was a smaller police presence and handed out their fliers to those waiting in line, according to Hicks. The fliers – which were a satirical program of the event – accused Obama of hurting young people with his policies and violating the Constitution. It also decried the use of drones and the war on drugs, among other complaints.

Obama’s speech drew an estimated crowd of 6,000, and Hicks said the fake programs he and others passed out caused a stir among those waiting in line. Some yelled at the group and issued threats, “but it was just more energy for us to feed on,” Hicks stated.

“They were issuing some serious threats, and at some point, one guy even threatened me physically,” Hicks tells The College Fix. “Lots of angry people for sure.”

Later the group tried to picket the president’s appearance, but say they were blocked from walking on the campus. Hicks writes:

At all costs, we were kept off of the property even though we were peaceful at all times. Although our constitutional rights were violated over and over again, we made sure others would learn of it.

Read the full article.

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IMAGE: Ty Hicks, Young Americans for Liberty