In it, but not of it. TPM DC

President Obama promised a “non-traditional” State of the Union and indeed, his remarks in the U.S. Capitol sounded less like the usual laundry list of policy priorities and more like the President’s response to some of the gloom-and-doom rhetoric being bandied about on the 2016 campaign.

“I don’t want to talk just about the next year. I want to focus on the next five years, ten years, and beyond,” Obama said.

Though he didn’t mention Donald Trump by name, some of Obama’s strongest lines were geared specifically at the GOP frontrunner’s proposals -- including deporting undocumented immigrants and banning Muslim immigration -- in the name of “making America great again.”

In particular, Obama denounced the recent anti-Muslim rhetoric espoused not just by Trump but by others in the GOP field. He also rebutted claims that the economy was in decline or that the country was no longer safe from foreign threats.

Here are those and other shots he took at Trump:

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A morning of tough questioning Monday at the Supreme Court suggested public unions have an uphill battle in convincing the court not to overrule a 1977 decision that allows them to charge non-members "agency fees" -- fees that subsidize the collective bargaining that benefits all employees.

The swing justices whom union forces had hoped to bring to their side seemed skeptical, if not hostile, to their arguments. The best alternative liberals could put forward is that at the very least more fact-finding in the case is needed, considering what a major deal upending Supreme Court precedent is.

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You can learn a lot about the upcoming Supreme Court case that threatens to cripple public unions by looking at who is behind it.

Friedrichs v. California Teacher’s Association is being brought, in name, by Rebecca Friedrichs, a California elementary school teacher who objects to a state law requiring her and other public employees to pay a portion of union dues even though they are not union members.

But behind her in the case is a coalition of legal forces known for using the court to attack progressive laws. The case touches upon all sorts of conservative pet causes including wages, school voucher programs and health care benefits. Many of the players in this case have been involved in a broader pattern of pushing conservative causes through the judicial system when their efforts have failed in the political process.

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Update: The House passed the legislation to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood by a 240-181 vote Wednesday evening.

After half-a-decade worth of votes to repeal Obamacare, congressional Republicans will finally send a bill that guts the President's signature health care reform to the Oval Office, where President Obama is sure to veto it.

The House is set to vote Wednesday on an Obamacare repeal bill that will take apart some key aspects of the Affordable Care Act, such as the individual and employer mandates. The House passed a similar bill last year. But once it reached the Senate, Republicans expanded its parameters -- including amendments that unravel the Medicaid expansion and target the marketplace subsidies -- as conservatives said the initial legislation didn't go far enough. Having passed narrowly in the Senate, it is now back in the House, where it kicks off Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-WI) 2016 agenda "about ideas and not about distractions."

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The 2014 showdown at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada has found its 2016 sequel, with two of his sons among the anti-government extremists taking over a federal wildlife center in Oregon to protest the government’s public land policies.

The situation presents a complicated challenge for authorities seeking to end the standoff peacefully but armed militia members itching for a confrontation. But some observers caution that once it is settled -- however it is ultimately resolved -- those involved must face consequences, unlike Bundy himself, who was never sanctioned for his armed showdown with the government and still owes some $1 million in disputed public grazing fees that triggered the initial incident.

“These folks are militant extremists and they need to be treated as such,” Jessica Goad -- advocacy director at the Center for Western Priorities, a conservation group which has monitored the rise of anti-government groups -- told TPM. “They need to be brought to justice in order for this thing not to keep occurring in the future.”

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It's been two days since roughly a dozen armed men took over an unoccupied headquarters building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon's vast eastern desert near the small town of Burns.

It started as a planned protest in Burns over the impending imprisonment of local father-and-son ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond who were convicted of starting fires on public lands. But it quickly escalated into a full-on takeover of the federal facility 30 miles away with the armed group hunkering down and refusing to leave.

The Hammonds quickly distanced themselves from the brigade that includes two sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, a folk hero of sorts among western anti-government types after his standoff with the federal government in 2014.

Who exactly are these men? The exact number and identities of all the militia members at Malheur is not known, but here's a rundown on what is known about the men identified so far who are holed up at the wildlife refuge.

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It looks like Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) will be sticking to the promises about Medicaid he made towards the end of his gubernatorial campaign, instead of those made at its beginning. The Tea Party candidate laid out Wednesday his plans to "transform" -- rather than entirely dismantle -- the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

"We are going to transform the way Medicaid is delivered in Kentucky and this transformation I think will be a model to the nation," Bevin said at a press conference Wednesday.

By continuing Medicaid's expansion under Obamacare, Bevin will join a long line of GOP governors who have railed against the program but eventually come around to supporting it. The pattern is well-established and often includes negotiating with the federal government a special carve-out for a state-specific version of the program, a way to save political face by not seeming to have caved and become an Obamacare supporter.

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The most unexpected political story this year was arguably Donald Trump's domination of the early stages of the Republican 2016 primary. But nearly as fascinating was how the rest of the GOP sought to deal with the real-estate-mogul-turned-reality-star's unexpected rise.

Embrace him? Contain him? Dismiss him? Fight him? Those were the questions confronting the party since Trump's entry in the race -- at first viewed with mockery -- in the summer. While Trump could still fall short at the ballot box, he has left his permanent stamp on the entire race and even the Republican Party as a whole.

Here's a look at the various ways the GOP coped with the year of Donald Trump:

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It is as if Donald Trump just walked into a 40-year conversation on conservatism and instead of standing there, nodding his head politely as he got acquainted with the topic at hand, began shouting over the crowd.

It is essentially what Trump has done to conservative policy gurus this year. Trump has reached over anti-abortion diehards, foreign policy neocons, and supply siders to tell base voters directly what he thinks they want to hear and it's working. But he still doesn't have a grasp on how what he's promoting fits into long-term movement conservatism objectives -- nor does he seem to particularly care. Not only is Trump not beholden to the conservative movement, he seems more or less indifferent to it. And that as much as anything strikes fear deep in the hearts of longtime conservatives who see 2016 as a generational opportunity to control Congress and the White House simultaneously.

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More than 8.2 million consumers either signed up for new plans on the Obamacare federal marketplace or renewed their old plans in time for Jan. 1 coverage, according to an open enrollment report released Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services Monday.

Compared to the number of enrollees at this point last year, HealthCare.Gov sign-ups are up about 30 percent, HHS said, with 2.4 million new users on the federal marketplace.

The surge comes after HHS announced that it was extending the deadline for this open enrollment period from Dec. 15 to Dec. 17, having seen an unprecedented amount of traffic on its website and call centers.

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