National Review Editor Equates Akin's "Legitimate Rape" Stance With Grimes' Defense Of Secret Ballots
National Review editor Rich Lowry equated Kentucky senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’ refusal to disclose which presidential candidate she voted for in 2012 with former Republican Rep. Todd Akin’s (MO) stunning claim that it is “really rare” for a woman to become pregnant as a result of “a legitimate rape.” Lowry suggested the two positions were politically equivalent “gaffes,” whitewashing the fact that Akin’s statement was not only absurdly disconnected from scientific reality — it also happened to reflect actual policy priorities of the Republican Party.
During an October 10 interview with the editorial board of The Louisville Courier-Journal, Grimes said she “respect[ed] the sanctity of the ballot box” when asked if she voted for President Obama in past elections. During an October 13 candidate debate, Grimes reiterated her stance on voter privacy:
GRIMES: This is a matter of principle. Our constitution grants, here in Kentucky, the constitutional right to privacy at the ballot box, for a secret ballot. You have that right, Senator McConnell has that right, every Kentuckian has that right.
GRIMES: I am not going to compromise a constitutional right provided here in Kentucky in order to curry favor on one or other side or for members of the media.
In an October 15 column published by Politico Magazine, Lowry exclaimed that “Alison Lundergan Grimes is the Todd Akin of 2014,” and argued that Grimes’ stated position defending the secret ballot was “a defining political gaffe” for this election. He likened her comments to then-Rep. Todd Akin’s infamous statements about rape and pregnancy, in which Akin stated that pregnancies resulting from rape are rare because, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Lowry argued that the two candidates represented similar levels of political ineptitude, writing that each was “telegenic, mockable and universally condemned.”
Grimes’ decision to stand on principle with regard to voter privacy has been labeled a “gaffe” by some, but, as MSNBC’s Steve Benen pointed out, it is “an issue the media has deemed extremely important, but which actually affects no one.”
By comparison, Akin’s alarming comments on rape and pregnancy were reflected to varying degrees in actual policy decisions favored by Republican elected officials and candidates. Akin would later attempt to clarify his remarks amid a “firestorm” of controversy, but maintained his opposition to legal abortion access for women — a constitutional right codified by the Supreme Court in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. In 2012, many prominent Republican candidates and conservative media figures supported banning safe and legal abortion, making the issue a central part of campaign rhetoric.
In October 2012, Indiana Republican senate candidate Richard Mourdock voiced his opposition to abortion"even when life begins in that terrible situation of rape," stating that "it is something that God intended to happen." Around the same time, Republican Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois supported a ban on all abortion, including cases that would threaten the life of the mother. Walsh falsley claimed that “modern technology and science” had solved the problem of potentially life-threatening pregnancies. During a 2007 Republican presidential debate, Mitt Romney said “we don’t want to have abortion in this country at all, period.” He went on to state that it would be “terrific” if Congress passed a bill outlawing abortion, which he would be “delighted” to sign. Romney dodged abortion questions throughout his 2012 campaign, but promised to eliminate federal funding for women’s health organizations like Planned Parenthood and vowed to be “a pro-life president.”
Outlawing access to abortion remains a lightning rod for conservative media, with some right-wing outlets going so far as to tie debates about legal abortion to the crimes of convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell. Right-wing media figures like Karl Rove have pushed the myth that some forms of contraception are actually forms of abortion, while others such as Bill O’Reilly advanced extremist views on fetal “personhood” that would criminalize most abortions.
There is no appropriate comparison between Akin’s extreme rhetoric and false scientific claims, and Grimes’ personal defense of privacy at the ballot box.
If anything, the Todd Akin of 2014 is Joni Ernst, NOT ALG.
h/t: Craig Harrington at MMFA
Don Feder, the communications director for the World Congress of Families, is out with another anti-immigrant blog post, this time attacking immigration reform proponents like “Senator Juan” McCain for promoting the “loss of national identity” through immigration
In the blog post, posted in his capacity as a freelance “political/communications consultant” on the website GrasstopsUSA.com, Feder promotes the now-familiar line that Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election because he just wasn’t conservative enough (or, in Feder’s words, lacked “manly firmness”). In particular, Feder attacks McCain and GOP strategist Karl Rove for their support for immigration reform, which he claims will turn off “Main Street voters” who “care deeply about…loss of national identity.”
"Rove isn’t just wrong, he’s wrong the way Napoleon was wrong when he invaded Russia," Feder writes. "Today, elections aren’t won in the middle but on the fringes."
He contends that the Democratic base, or “fringe,” constitutes “the ideological, the envious, public employees, angry, single women and the mooch brigade.”
Last year, Feder wrote a virulently anti-immigrant blog post, in which he claimed that “the illegal immigrants swarming over our southern border are more akin to the pagan armies which regularly invaded the land of Israel and were repulsed by military force.”
Although Feder has written these rants in his personal capacity, his railing against Latino immigrants would seemato conflict with his employer’s goals of uniting “many national, ethnic, cultural, social and religious communities” in their anti-gay, anti-choice cause.
Sherman: "Mitt Romney's 'War Room Was Being Run Out Of The [Fox] Headquarters'" | Video | Media Matters for America
Sherman is right on with the statement that Romney’s 2012 General Election War Room basically being run by Fox and RWNJ Talk Radio.
From the 01.14.2014 edition of CNN’s Piers Morgan Live:
Romney added that he is trying not to focus on the past, though.
"But history is in the past, and I’m not going to worry about what could have happened. What I am worried about, is that you have a lot of people who are going to find their premiums going through the roof," he said. "They’re going to find that the doctor they’ve had, they can’t keep. They’re going to find the policies they were promised they could have, they’re not going to be able to keep. And the American people are going to be very, very upset about that."
Steven “Laser” Haas is the owner and sole shareholder of Collateral Logistics Inc. (CLI) the firm which was retained to oversee the liquidation of assets in the bankruptcy of eToys in 2001.
During the process of liquidating the company Haas came across irregularities, unethical practices and outright criminal acts originating from the top at Bain Capital (Mitt Romney’s asset management firm), Goldman Sachs, Kay Bee Toys and Stage Stores, all of which were involved in the machinations to sell eToys for mere pennies to Bain through its interest in Kay Bee. Haas filed his suit under a provision of the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) statute which allows a plaintiff to become a “Private Attorney General” when it is necessary in order to address “Prosecutorial Gaps.” According to Haas, that gap was created by Colm F. Connolly, former United States Attorney in Delaware who had been a partner in the law firm of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell (MNAT) in 2001, alleging he had failed to disclose that fact while also neglecting to investigate the complaints which Haas had lodged.
Along with Romney, Haas has named Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital, Michael Glazer Barry Gold and Paul Traub in the suit. Haas has claimed that he has evidence that the parties involved have committed perjury on 35 separate occasions — even alleging that there have been murders carried out in attempts to cover up their wrong doing. His $100 million suit is intended to recover some of the losses incurred by the victims of the unethical and illegal actions of those involved in the chicanery and who reaped handsome profits from the deal.
While Walmart is doubling down on its relationship with Duck Dynasty following Phil Robertson’s controversial comments about homosexual sex and the Jim Crow South, another popular chain has decided to remove certain items related to the show from its stores. Cracker Barrel made the announcement on its Facebook page Friday:
The suggestion that items related to Phil Robertson “might offend some of our guests” was met by some outrage by the company’s conservative fan base. “Worried about offending gays? What about offending Christians???????????” one popular comment reads. Another person wrote, “After you are done removing the selected products, go ahead and remove a bunch of tables and chairs……you won’t be needing them any more.”
The decision by the company comes with some level of irony given the fact that it was held up as a symbol of the Republican Party during the 2012 presidential election. The Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman described the presidential election as a contest between Whole Foods and Crack Barrel shoppers:
In 2012, the campaign might be a contest between these alternate universes of culture and cuisine: Whole Foods Markets and Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores.
In 2008, candidate Barack Obama carried 81 percent of counties with a Whole Foods and just 36 percent of counties with a Cracker Barrel —a record 45-point gap. In 2000, Vice President Al Gore won 58 percent of counties now containing a Whole Foods and 26 percent of those now boasting a Cracker Barrel, a 32-point difference. And in 1992, Gov. Bill Clinton won 60 percent of Whole Foods counties and 40 percent of Cracker Barrel counties — a mere 20-point margin.
Wasserman’s prediction was borne out by the 2012 election results. While Obama’s percentage dropped slightly to 77% in Whole Foods counties, his support in Cracker Barrel counties dropped even further, with less than a third of voters in those areas supporting the president.
Just as A&E risked upsetting Duck Dynasty’s loyal viewers when the network decided to suspend Robertson, is Cracker Barrel turning off its conservative customer base by deciding to operate “within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people?”
RWNJ Evangelical Phony "Christian" minister: "Church leaders who supported Obama should resign — especially the black ones" | The Raw Story
Editor’s Disclosure: I am an evangelical Christian who voted for Obama twice and is pro-choice and pro-marriage equality. So take a damn hike, you Conservative Christian losers!
An evangelical minister says church leaders who supported President Barack Obama in his last successful bid for the White House should resign. Decrying the present-day “political monkey house,” Douglas Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow,…
As a general rule, the candidate who receives the most votes in an election is declared the winner. But that would all change if the Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell gets his way and states start adopting a vote-rigging scheme that he is recommending whereby, in a presidential election, electoral votes would switch from winner-take-all allocations to a system where they were awarded according to congressional districts.
As a result of such a switch, candidates who lose the overall popular vote in a state could still end up receiving a majority of that state’s electoral votes simply by virtue of winning the popular vote in more individual districts.
As Blackwell admitted several months ago, if this sort of system had been in place during the last election, Mitt Romney would have won the presidency despite the fact that he lost the overall popular vote by nearly 5 million votes.
David Barton has eagerly been supporting the scheme by laughably claiming that it would “give the people a greater voice” and last night he got Glenn Beck to endorse it as well on his television program.
From the 09.19.2013 edition of TheBlazeTV’s The Glenn Beck Program:
h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW
If you’re looking for a Republican congressman who truly embodies the ethos of the Tea Party, Maryland Representative Andy Harris is a pretty good pick.
Harris, you see, is no fan of “big government” and he’s definitely not a fan of Rinos (“Republicans in name only”).
Harris made a national name for himself in 2008, when he successfully launched a primary campaign against insufficiently conservative 18-year congressional veteran Wayne Gilchrest. Although Harris lost in the general election, he was more successful two years later, joining his Tea Party contingent in the House of Representatives.
As a congressman, Harris has had a difficult time finding a single government program or legislative initiative he doesn’t hate. He opposed the debt limit deal in the summer of 2011; he was one of the handful of Republicans to vote against the fiscal cliff deal in January 2013; he’s against immigration reform, foreign aid, more money for Pell grants, and even the Violence Against Women Act.
And, of course, he hates Obamacare.
This record of conservative allegiance would, you might imagine, inoculate Harris from Tea Party criticism. Yet, earlier this month, in a town hall meeting in his home district, he was assailed by his constituents – for not being strident and uncompromising enough.
"You guys are being nice guys" and "I want to see more defiance!" were just some of the accusations hurled at the congressman in a heated session that included questions about the supposed IRS scandal and the current lodestar of conservative lunacy – Benghazi.
Harris is not alone.
Blake Farenthold, another Tea Party Republican from Texas, who voted against the fiscal cliff deal as well, and told constituents ”there are several [cabinet] departments we could completely get rid of”, wasassailed by “birthers” for the GOP’s failure to impeach President Obama. (His defense was not that impeachment would be insane, but that it would be infeasible.) Tea Partiers in North Carolina pummeled CongressmanRobert Pittenger for refusing to support defunding Obamacare even thought he has supported a number of bills repealing Obamacare.
Indeed, across the nation, Republican senators and congressmen are finding themselves under withering assault from Tea Party critics.
After three and a half years of legislative hostage-taking and policy nihilism and unceasing, uncompromising obstructionism of President Obama’s agenda, the message from the Tea Party is a simple one: we want more crazy.
So what’s going on here? Quite simply, Republicans are being destroyed by the rightwing monster they created.
Although, once upon a time, the divide in the GOP was between moderates and conservatives; today, the intra-party cleavage is between the Republican establishment and the lunatic fringe. And the fringe is not so fringe-y.
For years, the GOP establishment mined this wellspring of racial and economic anxiety. They railed against gay marriage and abortion; attacked big government and out-of-control federal spending and demonized welfare and social programs.
But once in office, Republicans had a funny way of never really carrying through with their tough rhetoric. Rather than do away with social security or Medicare – they strengthened it and expanded it. Rather than slash government spending or the size of the federal bureaucracy – they increased it. The more visceral imperative for Republican officeholders was to provide tax breaks for their wealthy supporters, weaken regulation (be it financial, environmental or workplace) and, above all, hold on to their political power. Going after sacred cows like social insurance programs or popular spending programs, or working to enact abortion restrictions, were political nonstarters (or were quickly shelved once they became political liabilities).
Then, in 2009, things began to take a turn. With the election of Barack Obama, Republicans found themselves with a new political adversary uniquely capable of upsetting the far right – and the GOP made sure this was exactly what happened. Playing on fears of social change, racial anxiety and expanding big government, Republican leaders inveighed against the evils of Obamacare and the president’s alleged profligate spending.
They pulled out every stop to thwart Obama’s legislative agenda, and even went far down the political rabbit hole as they flirted with “birtherism”, charges of socialism, and allegations that the president was a secret Muslim. In the process, they both enraged and energized the party’s most radical followers.
The result was a short-term political victory (control of the House of Representatives, won in the 2010 midterms) – but an increasingly long-term political headache, like the one playing out in GOP town hall meetings across America right now. The establishment players in Congress found themselves with a host of new Tea Partier colleagues little interested in following the usual GOP script of compromise in the name of political necessity. They were willing to undermine the full faith and credit of the US government in order to force draconian spending cuts upon the White House. They’ve continued their assault on Obamacare, voting to repeal it 40 times, and now, one of the group’s biggest bomb-throwers, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, is talking aboutshutting down the government in order to defund it. They’ve allowed sequestration – and its devastating affect on communities across the country – to continue. And they have resisted any and all effort to moderate the party’s image, dragging the Republican establishment under the bus with them.
On immigration reform, the Tea Party contingent has made clear that the Senate immigration bill is dead-in-the-water – thus, gravely undermining national GOP efforts to improve the party’s image among Hispanic voters. On abortion rights, state legislatures filled with ultra-conservatives continue to pass legislation restricting access to reproductive health services and, in the process, further devastated the party’s already poor relationship with women voters. In the struggle between those who want to moderate the party (albeit only slightly) and those who want to ride the train straight to crazy-ville, the latter are winning.
Finally, they’ve turned their guns on their own leaders and, in the process, driven the party more and more toward their uncompromising positions.
With deadlines coming soon on a possible government shutdown and an extension of the debt limit, Republican leaders like Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who is facing a Tea Party primary challenge are under growing pressure to not get off the politically suicidal path on which they find themselves – but instead to stay the course.
The result of all this is more dysfunction, more budgetary shutdowns and more political black eyes for a Republican party unable to reason with its most ideologically fervent followers. None of this should really be unexpected. If you’re going to tell radical conservatives that Obamacare is the worst thing to ever happen to America, is it really a surprise that those same extremists are not going to meekly nod when you tell them that it’s now a fact of life? If you’re going to tell voters that government debt is destroying the country, is it really a surprise when those voters demand that every step must be taken to reduce it?
Any hope that the defeat of Mitt Romney in November 2012 would begin to drain the GOP’s fever swamp has gone by the wayside – and Republicans have no one to blame but themselves. In nurturing and radicalizing its extremist fringe – in pursuit of short-term gain – the Republican establishment created a political Frankenstein. Increasingly, however, it looks as though the monster’s first victim is going to be them.
GOoA's Pratt: "Obama is 'Full-Bore Marxist' Who 'Had to Steal the Last Election'" | Right Wing Watch
Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt is upset that just because President Obama “got 50-plus percent of the vote,” he thinks can now carry out his policy agenda. In one of his frequent interviews with conspiracy nut Alex Jones recently, Pratt alleged that the president is a “communist,” a “full-bore Marxist” and a “Mr. Dictator” who is “grabbing ahold of every bit of power and centralizing in his hands.”
Pratt also agreed with Jones that Democrats “had to steal the election” and urged supporters to take jobs as election monitors because “it’s either that or the republic.”
Wallbuilders' Barton: Right-Wing Vote-Rigging Scheme Gives 'the People a Greater Voice' | Right Wing Watch
After watching the Republican presidential candidates lose the last two elections, right-wing activist Ken Blackwell cooked up a scheme whereby states would move away from winner-take-all allocations of electors to a system in which Electoral College votes would be assigned according to congressional districts.
The result would be that a Republican presidential candidate who does not win the overall popular vote in the state could still end up receiving a majority of that state’s electoral votes simply by virtue of winning the popular vote in more individual districts.
Today, Blackwell appeared on “WallBuilders Live" to promote this scheme, where it was met with enthusiastic support from Rick Green and David Barton. As Blackwell explained, if every state had implemented this plan for the 2012 election, Mitt Romney would have won despite the fact that he lost the overall popular vote by nearly 5 million votes.
Blackwell: There’s an old farmer’s tale that if you throw a brick at a pack of pigs, the one that squeals is the one you hit. Well, when we put this out there, the Left started squealing, the New York Times started squealing, so we must be on to something.
Green: You must be on to something. No doubt about that. I haven’t had a chance to look, I don’t if anyone has done a map, I’d be real curious to know if every state did this, how would the last few elections [have gone]? Have you had a chance to look?
Blackwell: I already know. If every state did it, Romney would have won the election. And so that’s another reason that the Left just instinctively dislikes it.
Barton: This actually is a way to give the people a greater voice rather than just having the majority slap it to the minority every time you turn around. And I really like what he’s proposed here with reverting back out of the winner-take-all philosophy of the states, going back to congressional district take all, which is a good way to do it.
From the 05.02.2013 edition of Wallbuilders Live:
Tonight on The #EdShow: The person who exposed Mitt Romney’s #47percent comments has been leaked, and his name is #ScottProuty.
The fellow on the other end of the phone call pronounced his name with hesitation. For nearly a fortnight, he and I had been building a long-distance rapport via private tweets, emails, and phone conversations as we discussed how best to make public the secret video he had shot of Mitt Romney talking at a private, $50,000-per-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida. Now I was almost ready to break the story at Mother Jones. I had verified the video, confirming when and where it had been shot, and my colleagues and I had selected eight clips—including Romney’s now-infamous remarks about the 47 percent of Americans he characterized as “victims” unwilling to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives”—to embed in two articles. We had blurred these clips, at the source’s request, to make it difficult to tell where Romney had uttered these revealing comments, while clearly showing that it was Romney speaking. The goal was to afford the source a modicum of protection.
The source was justifiably worried about repercussions. Once the video was posted, he might lose his job. He might face criminal prosecution or a civil lawsuit. Months earlier, he had anonymously posted a snippet from the video, in which Romney nonchalantly described the work-camp-like living conditions at a Chinese factory he had visited. The source, offended by these comments, had hoped that the short clip would catch fire in the political-media world. But it hadn’t, partly because its context and origins were unknown. The source’s desire to remain in the shadows had hindered his ability to bring the story to the public.
Then James Carter IV, a freelance researcher (and, though I didn’t know it then, the grandson of Jimmy Carter) who had been sending me public documents regarding Romney’s prior business investments, had, at my request, tracked the anonymous poster down. I subsequently persuaded him to send me the full video of the fundraiser and to allow me to release portions of it, under the strict condition that I’d do whatever was possible to keep his identity hidden. He did not want to become the story. He hoped the public would focus only on Romney’s words. And through all this, he had not told me who he was, though he disclosed that he had worked at the fundraiser and insisted that he was no political partisan and had filmed Romney more out of curiosity than as part of a plan to trap the GOP candidate.
I respected his desire for privacy. He was about to commit a courageous and unprecedented act of whistle-blowing. But as we neared publication, I said I had to know his name. Do you really need it? he asked. Yes, I replied, explaining I could not publish the stories without knowing his identity. I vowed I would keep it a secret.
I had waited until the final moments to press him on this. I realized there was a chance that he might decline to identify himself, and the story would die. He asked once more if it was necessary. I said it was and held my breath. There was a long silence. “Scott,” he said. “Scott Prouty.” Thank you, I replied. Then we moved on to other details.
When I got off the phone, I did the obvious: I Googled him. The initial results were worrisome. I found mug shots for two men with that name who had been arrested. But then I located aproclamation (issued by the mayor and town council of Davie, Florida) that the source had mentioned earlier. On September 25, 2005, a car had plunged into a canal along I-75 and sunk into the water. Prouty, then working at motorcycle dealership, rushed to the scene. A tall fellow with a strapping build, Prouty jumped into the water and, using a knife provided by a fellow employee, cut the seatbelt, freed the unconscious woman in the driver’s seat, and handed her to a coworker who revived her with CPR. Prouty, who had noticed there was a child safety seat in the car, kept diving into the dark water in search of a child. But there had been no one else in the car. The proclamation noted that Prouty and two of his coworkers had taken “valiant and swift lifesaving actions in the face of an emergency without thought to their own safety” and declared them “lifesaving heroes.” I also found a local newsletter with a photo of Prouty and his colleagues being honored by the Weston City Commission for their heroism (his name was misspelled “Proudly”). The picture did not match either of the mug shots, and I saw that one of the other Proutys was incarcerated in Wisconsin, while the other seemed to be from a different part of Florida. I was relieved. I would later learn that my source was a college-educated bartender, in his late 30s, who had grown up in the Boston area.
Days later, we published the first article. It went hyper-viral. The 47 percent story quickly became bigger than Prouty and I had expected. Realizing he could not keep hidden the location and date of what was becoming the most notorious fundraiser in modern history, Prouty gave me permission to reveal those details, to remove the blurring from the videos we had posted, and to release the entire video he had sent me. This will make it easier for someone to track you down, I said. If they want to find me, he replied, they will.
And there was this: If Prouty did claim credit, he would immediately become a target of the right, especially during the campaign. He could expect an effort to smear and discredit him.
But it was also natural for Prouty to want to accept the many accolades flowing to the mystery videographer. Why not come forward and enjoy the moment? There might be a financial benefit, or, better yet, an opportunity to enhance his career prospects. He was interested in going back to school or working in public policy. Donations or other assistance might materialize. Some media outlets were looking to make offers.
In the course of our ongoing discussions, I said I would support him, whatever he did. I did point out that were he to reveal himself, he could expect forces on the right to dig up whatever dirt could be found on him, his friends, and his family—or to make stuff up. I had no idea if this was a real concern, but I wanted him to consider the possibility. As he pondered his options, he repeatedly told me that he did not want to distract from the impact of his video. And he meant it.
After the election, the dynamics changed slightly. Prouty no longer had to fret about any possible retribution from a Romney administration. But the fundamentals remained. Going public would bring cheers and perhaps rewards but also place him in the crosshairs. I was frequently asked whether I thought my source would out himself. I answered that I could envision him remaining a ghost for the next 20 years, or deciding to hold a press conference the next day. I got the sense that he was living with a tough choice—and thinking about it—every day.
wondered if Prouty’s role would remain a secret for as long. But he has now decided to come forward. Not for a big payoff, but to pursue the same passion for social justice that caused him to post that China clip. I’ll let him explain that and his motives—for making the video, for releasing it, and for now stepping out of the shadows. He’s doing so with an hourlong interview on The Ed Show. It’s his story, and I’m glad he’s telling it.
h/t: Mother Jones
Mitt Romney stood by his belief that President Obama was aided in his re-election by giving gifts to minority voters, during an interview that aired on “Fox News Sunday.”
"The president had the power of incumbency, ‘Obamacare’ was very attractive, particularly to those without insurance, and they came out in large numbers to vote," Romney said. "So that was part of a successful campaign."
Romney first made comments to this effect on a conference call with donors after the November election, when he said Obama had been “very generous” in doling out “big gifts” to “the African American community, the Hispanic community and young people” as well as women during his first term.
"I think the ‘Obamacare’ attractiveness and feature was something we underestimated, particularly among lower incomes," Romney said.
h/t: TPM LiveWire