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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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