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President Obama likes it. A wide array of Senators, including influential conservative Tom Coburn (R-OK), have given it their blessings. Out of nowhere, the Gang of Six's bipartisan plan for addressing the country's fiscal imbalance has returned from legislative hinterlands -- and has become the only viable, publicly available framework by which Congress can make good on its supposed desire for a grand bargain on deficit reduction.

But according to an aide briefed on the Gang of Six's negotiations, the fledgling framework is still too new and incomplete to be included in a package to raise the debt limit before August 2nd -- and it's more likely to become the basis for a bigger-deal in the weeks and months ahead.

"It will play into getting us through August 2nd in absolutely no way," the aide said. Senators on Tuesday, according to the aide were given "a briefing on a framework of what could become a plan," but the imperative now is to get the debt limit raised one way or another.

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Though the substance of the Parliamentary hearings over the News Of The World phone hacking scandal threatened to be overshadowed by Rupert Murdoch's plate of shaving cream to the face, the upshot of the almost three-hour session was the Murdochs' repeated assertions that they had no idea that many of the most egregious instances of phone hacking were occurring.

The hearing began with profuse apologies over the hackings, with James Murdoch saying that "these actions do not live up to the standards that our company aspires to," and News Corporation chief Rupert Murdoch calling Tuesday "the most humble day of my life."

But most of the hearings were characterized by the odd dynamic between James Murdoch's convoluted claims to "no direct knowledge" of the phone hackings, and his father's claims to "no direct knowledge" of essentially anything he was asked. James Murdoch repeatedly interrupted his father to give carefully worded answers about the sprawling allegations, while Rupert Murdoch's answers were characterized by long pauses and curt responses that he was never informed about the details.

When at one point James Murdoch tried to say that it'd be "more helpful" if he could answer about the particular details of what the company knew, one Committee member replied: "It's revealing in itself what he doesn't know and what executives chose not to tell him."

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In what is sure to become a cause celebre, federal law enforcement authorities on Tuesday unsealed an indictment against Aaron Swartz, one of the young creators of the popular social news sharing service Reddit, and a prominent progressive activist.

Federal authorities have charged Swartz with breaking into MIT's network and using an automated program to download more than four million articles from JSTOR, an online database of academic journals maintained at MIT between late September 2010 and early January 2011.

According to the indictment, among other things JSTOR prohibits automated downloads of content and downloads of entire journals. MIT is a subscriber to JSTOR.

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President Obama heaped praise on a deficit-reduction proposal produced by bipartisan group of senators known as the "Gang of Six," calling it a "significant step" and arguing that members on both side of the aisle are beginning to coalesce around a balanced approach involving cuts to entitlements and tax increases.

"We're in the same playing field and my hope is that we start gathering everybody in the next couple of days" on an agreement, Obama told reporters in a brief appearance in the White House briefing room Tuesday.

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation has raided several homes and made arrests as part of their investigation into the 'hackivist' group Anonymous.

An official told TPM that around 14 arrests were expected in the Anonymous raid. CNN reported that 12 arrests have already been made and that 15 were expected.

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A Republican primary challenger to Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) went on a rant against Barack Obama this week in which he claimed the president was not a Christian.

Businessman Scott D'amboise told FrumForum in an interview on Tuesday that he did not believe Obama's professed faith was genuine.

"The President, he says he is Christian but yet he's exercises a lot of Muslim faith too," D'amboise said. "Me personally, I'm a Christian conservative. I don't hold any malice to anybody, whether they are Muslim, or Jewish, or Catholic, or anything else. I just believe that he needs to come forward with his views a little bit clearer."

Asked specifically whether Obama might be a Muslim, a common (and false) belief in some right-wing circles, D'amboise told FrumForum "I don't know if he is or isn't, but I don't believe he's a Christian."

In an interview with TPM, Andrew Ian Dodge, a Tea Party activist who is also running against Snowe as a Republican, condemned D'amboise's comments as a "distraction."

"I think its a way of vilifying him," Dodge said. "Obama is a social democrat, but he is neither a Muslim nor a non-citizen."

He added that comments like D'amboise's help Democrats by portraying the right as "bunch of loons."

D'amboise has only raised $100,000 so far, well behind Snowe's $2.7 million cash on hand. Dodge has not yet released fundraising totals.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has been clear for weeks that entitlement benefit cuts -- reducing the guarantees promised to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid beneficiaries -- are off the table in high-stakes negotiations to raise the national debt limit and avoid a catastrophic default.

But several Democrats have been on the record for years saying they'd consider or accept certain benefit cuts as part of a broad, balanced package to address long-term deficits. And that's raised the question of whether Pelosi would be able to hold the line if President Obama throws his weight behind cutting entitlement benefits as part of a "grand bargain" to reduce deficits by up to $4 trillion this decade.

Pelosi's lieutenant, Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), is one of the Dems who in the past has called for benefit cuts to be on the table -- alongside tax revenues, and savings -- as part of a bipartisan plan to bring the budget into balance. Today, though, he said he's with Pelosi 100 percent in the current fight, even if Republicans agree to a "grand bargain" that includes new tax revenue.

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Federal officials have charged two men with acting in a long-term conspiracy to act as agents of the Pakistani government without disclosing their relationship with the foreign government. One of those charged has given multiple donations to politicians on both sides of the aisle, most of it to Rep. Dan Burton (R).

The Department of Justice says U.S. citizens Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, and Zaheer Ahmad, 63, ran the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), which held itself out to be a "Kashmiri organization run by Kashmiris and financed by Americans," according to DOJ.

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In addition to being physically and verbally attacked Tuesday in Parliament, the news magnate Rupert Murdoch is facing a fresh online assault.

"Sabu" -- apparently a member of hacking consortium Lulz Security -- has said that sometime on Tuesday the group will post a database of e-mails that they have acquired from News International, the British arm of Murdoch's News Corp. empire.

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