A couple of days ago, the Post broke the news that Roger Stone — a former state GOP functionary who resigned after allegedly threatening Eliot Spitzer's family — was procuring money for Joe Bruno and pals from his other employer, a cultlike organization called NXIVM. Needless to say, we've been obsessed with the Albany-based NXIVM (pronounced, believe it or not, like “Nexium”) ever since. It's basically like Scientology masquerading as a self-help seminar, run by a guy named Keith Raniere. Raniere claims to have the highest IQ on record and have been a judo champion by age 11; he also demands to be called Vanguard by his followers (someone should introduce him to Mystery!). He is, in short, your classic swindler (his previous enterprise, a pyramid scheme called Consumers' Buyline, got kicked out of Arkansas in 1992) who's discovered the resale value on Ayn Randian mumbo jumbo. NXIVM's “executive success” program is designed to reel in alpha types who need someone to tell them that greed is good. Its big philosophy is that “human beings are born parasitic” (saying “I'm hungry” or complaining about pain, for instance, is parasitic behavior; the enlightened just take what they need). It also redefines “good” as “pro-survival” and “bad” as “destructive.” Students wear colored sashes and bow in the presence of the leader. You can see where this is headed.
It seems there's more bad news for Eliot Spitzer, who's steadfastly refusing to admit that righteous fury isn't getting him the same dividends it used to. “No amount of hysterical rhetoric will prevent us from doing what is right,” Spitzer said last night at Fordham University, defending both his driver's-licenses for-illegal-immigrants plan and a boost in state health insurance for children; sadly, his own penchant for hysterical rhetoric (like, let's see, calling Bloomberg wrong five times in one sentence) appears to be tripping him up at every turn. Spitzer's approval rating is down to an all-time low of 47 percent — that's from 61 percent just eight months ago. Judging by the numbers only, one would think the state were in some sort of nightmarish free fall, but no — it all appears to be the fallout from the idiotic altercation with Joe Bruno. Seventy-eight percent of voters want the governor to testify under oath on the matter, and a majority wants the probe stepped up. But lo! In the midst of all this, a shady Bruno associate might've provided just the opening Spitzer needs to justify another over-the-top caricature of his enemies.