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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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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