Re: No re-writing history?
It's not insane -- although it can be very confusing if you don't think in the way that data controllers (under EU legislation) are supposd to think.
1. Facts are facts. In general, you won't get a fact removed from somewhere like a newspaper (if it is true). There is no right to be forgotten.
However, Google is not a data store (as you point out). Google is processing data to provide a service: you type in a search term and Google collects information about that subject and tells you. That is where the legislation kicks in. If the data relates to a person, there are laws about processing it. They certainly aren't perfect but they protect us every day from people abusing information about us.
Amongst those laws are implictions on using data processing to create a profile of someone. As search engines were not envisaged in the laws, it has taken legal arguments to decide what the restrictions are on a profile created by searching the web (and it is perfectly reasonable to believe the decision is wrong -- but it has been made). The decision is that it is similar to other commercial companies which create profiles, like credit reference agencies. They are not allowed to include irrelevant or obsolete data, except in cases where dropping that data would be against the public interest (for example, someone standing for parliament is not likely to be able to get data about criminal offences dropped, even though the offences have expired -- they may be able to get them removed once they stop being a politician, however).
2. Your point only matters for well known people, where it is more likely that there is a public interest argument for retaining the data anyway.
3. Yes, old data can be useful. Lots of things could be useful which are not allowed. In the case of data about people, data protection overrides utility. Get over it.
4. Yes they are. Once Google stop moaning, they will put in place a process, using advice from data protection experts. A few more cases may go to court to get some grey areas sorted out. Then the process will just work.
This issue isn't publishing data, it is processing the published data and creating profiles of people. Google searches do it automatically. What I don't know is whether the same rules would apply to manual data processing. For example, if you were to look at all my postings on El Reg, gather some personal data from those (maybe I have said where I live or how old I am or something), create a Wikipedia page for me and publish that information, would I have the right to get old or irrelevant data permanently removed from that page? I don't know.