One of the things that Joseph Stalin famously did after The Great Purge was to recreate reality to suit his purposes. A whole cottage industry of photo retouching emerged as Stalin steadily removed the existence of his enemies from photo documentation.
After he came to power in 1929, Stalin declared war on Soviets he considered tainted by their connections to the political movements that had come before him. Beginning in 1934 he wiped out an ever-changing group of political “enemies.” Some 750,000 people died during theGreat Purge, as it is now known, and more than a million others were banished to remote areas to do hard labor in gulags.
During the purges, many of Stalin’s enemies simply vanished from their homes. Others were executed in public after show trials. And since Stalin knew the value of photographs in both the historical record and his use of mass media to influence the Soviet Union, they often disappeared from photos, too.
Stalin did the same with scores of party officials who had been photographed next to him at various events. Sometimes, official censors had to retouch photos over and over again as the list of political enemies grew longer. In one photograph, Stalin is shown with a group of three of his deputies. As each deputy fell out his favor, they were snipped out of the photo until only Stalin remained.
Our tools for photo retouching has gotten more sophisticated than in Stalin's day. But sophistication is not a hallmark of the Trump administration on any level. Which is why this is just a weird, weird thing for them to do:
They've disappeared John Bolton from a DoD photo.
Look at the photo at the head of this post. Now look at this one.
It's the same photo, with Bob Barr photoshopped in place of John Bolton.
Leave aside that the photoshop job isn't particularly skillful (once you know what to look for, it's painfully obvious), what is the purpose of "disappearing" John Bolton here? Is the plan to just pretend he never existed or was part of the administration?
Or is this just part and parcel of Trump's admiration for cold-blooded dictators?