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Texas attorney general gives cops the OK to put ‘In God We Trust’ on police cars

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It’s fine for the Childress Police Department to sport  “In God We Trust” stickers on the back of its police cruisers, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in an official opinion released Wednesday.

Paxton said the stickers are “a passive use of a motto steeped in our nation’s history” and that the police department would likely win if someone challenged the stickers in court. The ruling came as little surprise, since Paxton had already personally defended the department’s use of the slogan.

“There is an unbroken history of official acknowledgment by all three branches of government of the role of religion in American life from at least 1789,” Paxton said in the opinion. “A law enforcement department’s decision to display the national motto on its vehicles is consistent with that history. Thus, a court is likely to conclude that a law enforcement department’s display of “In God We Trust” on its patrol vehicles is permissible under the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

Congress adopted “In God We Trust” as the national motto in 1956.

The Childress Police Department came under fire in October for displaying the stickers, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based national church-state watchdog group, pressured the department to stop using the motto. Childress Police Chief Adrian Garcia responded to its request by telling the foundation to “go fly a kite.”

Following the spat, state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, and state Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster asked Paxton to consider the issue of displaying the motto.

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“Attorney General Paxton confirmed what I knew to be true all along – the use of our National Motto is protected speech,” Perry said in a statement Wednesday. “I hope this opinion gives law enforcement departments deciding to display ‘In God We Trust’ the clarity they need to maintain piece (sic) of mind.”

In October, Gov. Greg Abbott submitted a letter to Paxton offering his full support to the department if they continued “this patriotic display.”

By Madlin Mekelburg, The Texas Tribune

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Trump’s hamfisted attempt to wag the dog with Iran unraveled fast

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

We can’t say with any certainty that Iran wasn’t behind the attacks on two ships in the Gulf of Oman this week, but it is clear that the Trump regime’s account of what happened unraveled very quickly. Shortly after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a video of a small vessel removing something Pompeo said was a mine from the damaged port side of one of the ships, the vessel's owner said that it had actually been struck on its starboard side, above the waterline, by a flying object. If this were in fact an effort to pull a Gulf of Tonkin, then the fact that this was the best dog-wagging they could conjure up would be downright pathetic.    

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Dem lawmaker serves notice to Hope Hicks that Trump won’t be able to save her when he grills her during Wednesday’s hearing

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On Saturday, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) gave MSNBC's Alex Witt a brief rundown of what he wants to learn from former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks at her closed-door testimony next week — and warned that if Hicks tries to use executive privilege as a shield, Democrats will not stand for it.

"Let's talk about Hope Hicks," said Witt. "What do you expect to hear from her that she has not already offered in testimony?"

"Here's what's important about Hope Hicks," said Deutch. "She was a key part of the Trump campaign, which is a large part of the report is focused on. She was a key part of the Trump Administration in the early days, and that's the reason that she's a prominent figure in the Mueller report."

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Here is how ABC gave a helping hand to Donald Trump in his bid to be re-elected

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On Friday morning, some affiliates in ABC News’ digital division posted an article promoting an online “birthday card” for President Donald Trump — who turned 73. The “card” turned out to be linked to a petition website created by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC). And those ABC affiliates, according to the Daily Beast, helped Trump and the RNC add to their e-mail lists.

“Happy Birthday, Mr. President!,” the content read. “To help him celebrate, the GOP has made him a digital birthday card.”

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