We’re Here to Pump You Up!

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OK, one more penis pump story and the New York Times style section will be running a trend piece about them. Today’s news brings us the story of Mardin Amin, a hapless 29-year-old Iraqi American janitor who was stopped at Chicago’s O’Hare airport on August 16 because, prosecutors say, he told officials that the suspicious black rubber device they had plucked from his backpack was a bomb. In fact, it was a penis pump, and his lawyer attributes his less-than-clear enunciation to the fact that he was traveling with his mother and two small children.

Standing next to his mother, an embarrassed Amin whispered out of one corner of his mouth that it was a “pump”—as in a penis pump. The guard misunderstood the Iraqi man and thought she heard the word “bomb,” Amin’s attorney told a Cook County judge Wednesday.

“He told her it’s a pump,” attorney Eileen O’Neill-Burke said as a cluster of burly, snickering police officers watched the court proceedings. “He’s standing with his mother. Of course he’s not going to shout this out.”

Two days later an Oklahoma judge was sentenced to four years in prison on four counts of indecent exposure for using a penis pump under his robes over a period of two years.

All this would be nothing more than snicker-worthy were it not for the fact that prosecuting Iraqi Americans for carrying penis pumps is apparently considered a legitimate use of airport security and law enforcement resources.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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