Five Best Wednesday Columns

Helen Gao on censorship and the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen protests, Dana Milbank agrees with Ted Cruz on campaign finance reform, Jos Truitt on the media's portrayal of trans people, Leonid Bershidsky on why you shouldn’t expect Google for forget you, Heather Digby Parton on the right’s fear of migrant children.

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Helen Gao at The New York Times on censorship and the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen protests. “I don’t remember the first time I heard the term liu si — June 4 — which is how the Tiananmen protests, the widespread demonstrations in 1989 that ended in bloodshed, are referred to in China," Gao writes. "I do remember the first time the topic came up in conversation with my Chinese peers. On June 4, 2009, the 20th anniversary of the crackdown, I was shopping with a friend at a convenience store near Tsinghua University, when she, a junior at the university, turned to me, next to a shelf of colorful shampoos and conditioners. ‘Some people have been talking about this incident, liu si,’ she said. ‘What was it all about?’ ... Twenty-five years after the massacre, the topic remains taboo here. Chinese leaders, having learned their lesson during the Tiananmen protests, have kept politics out of our lives, while channeling our energies to other, state-sanctioned pursuits, primarily economic advancement.” The Huffington Post's Nicholas Miriello tweets, "'This alternation between exertion and ennui slowly becomes a habit and, later, an attitude.'" The United States Institute of Peace's Lili Cole tweets, "Notice how education conditions acceptance of government-imposed norms--China today."

Dana Milbank at The Washington Post agrees with Ted Cruz on campaign finance reform. “I agree with Ted Cruz. Before you stick a thermometer in my mouth or suggest that I up my meds, let me assure you that much of what the Texas Republican said at Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was just as wacky and reckless as usual. Cruz alleged that Democrats, in proposing a constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions, ‘support repealing the First Amendment,’ would ‘abandon the Bill of Rights,’ were seizing ‘the power to ban books and to ban movies,’ and favored 'politicians silencing the citizens'," Milbank writes. "But somewhere among the hysteria, the hyperbole and the hyperventilation was a good question from the tea party demagogue. ‘Where are the liberals today?’ Cruz asked. ‘Why is there not a liberal standing here defending the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment?’ Democrats should be asking that of themselves.”

Jos Truitt at the Guardian on the media’s portrayal of trans people. “For too long, the media has published irresponsible, factually inaccurate and dehumanizing articles on transgender women. Then, last week, Time published a cover story titled 'The Transgender Tipping Point', featuring Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox and offering a broad introduction to transgender issues for the magazine's readers. So of course Kevin D. Williamson at the conservative National Review felt it necessary to respond to this important moment in mainstream education by publishing an op-ed calling Laverne Cox ‘an effigy of a woman’, referring to her with male pronouns, and claiming that biological facts ‘prove’ that transgender identities are invalid,” Truitt writes. “That Williamson and the National Review would publish this click-bait hate speech is sadly no surprise. Then came an unexpected and considerably more disturbing turn: the Chicago Sun-Times chose to republish the op-ed over the weekend. The paper's apology is particularly infuriating, as it implies that a range of viewpoints on the validity of trans people's existence are worthy of publication.” Feministing's Chloe Angyal tweets, "'Trans women are still fighting for media to recognize our basic humanity.' - ."

Leonid Bershidsky at Bloomberg View on why you shouldn’t expect Google for forget you. “There is no way to get search engine companies to erase information from the Internet. That is the lesson lawyers, censors and overzealous regulators should learn from the way Google is applying last month's decision by the European Court of Justice to grant people the ‘right to be forgotten.’ Google, which is unhappy with the ruling, has leaked some details on who these people are – without naming names, of course. Discussing the fairness of their requests is beside the point, though, because their right to forget won't be granted in any meaningful way,” Bershidsky writes. “The complainers shouldn't be too hopeful, though. There are effective ways to censor the internet and they are used in China and Iran, but even there people find ways to break through to the information they seek. Europeans have no stomach for mimicking these kinds of draconian attempts at restriction, so Google is likely to get away with token compliance with the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling.” Urban Cloud's Peregrine Park tweets, "I’m with Google on this—willfully uncooperative as a sign of protest."

Heather Digby Parton at Salon on the right’s fear of migrant children.The Obama administration is taking humanitarian action on behalf of unaccompanied children who are crossing the border between Mexico and the U.S. It’s a crisis of such proportion that the administration is asking for additional funds to manage it. One would certainly assume that any person of faith would be compassionate toward children who have done nothing more than try to escape a terrible fate and find a new life somewhere else. But that is not what many of our most ardent ‘right-to-life’ defenders of children and ‘family values’ have to say about it, of course,” Digby Parton writes. “For instance, you have GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who insists that these kids are very cannily trying to get in under the wire in anticipation of Obama’s alleged big amnesty plan. Meanwhile, we have the leading crusader against ‘illegal immigration,’ ABC’s newest star Laura Ingraham, calling this humanitarian crisis an ‘invasion facilitated by our own government.’

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.