Ross Rant | October 10, 2017

Photo by Marc A. Ross - taken at Washington Square - New York City on October 7, 2017.

Photo by Marc A. Ross - taken at Washington Square - New York City on October 7, 2017.

Spain: The Catalan parliament meets today to consider a declaration of independence that will draw a sharp reaction from Madrid. 

Spanish police are ready to arrest Catalan President Carles Puigdemont immediately if he declares independence in the regional parliament.

The current thinking is Catalan president is likely to use the words “declaration of independence,” but they will probably be qualified or hedged in some way.

This is developing story.

Turkey: Ankara’s escalating tit-for-tat spat with the US is putting Turkey’s position in NATO at risk.  Relations between the nations have frayed following a failed coup against Erdogan in July 2016 - but nothing has been this bad.

Turkey’s decision to detain a staff member working at the United States consulate in Istanbul on an espionage charge has provoked a halt on all non-immigration visas being issued to Turks wanting to travel to the US. 

US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass said he quote ‘can’t predict’ how long crisis will last. The tension has sent the Turkish markets into a tailspin.

Silicon Valley: Washington is clashing with Silicon Valley once again - this time it's all about democracy.

Both the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee plan to grill senior executives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter on November 1.

Facebook and Twitter have confirmed they plan to send a representative to speak only at the Senate hearing and there no word yet on what Google plans to do.

Also, it is unclear how senior the executives will be. I can assure you the GR and PA teams of these companies are doing all they can to make sure it won't be at the CEO level. No doubt these hearing will be a grandstanding circus and members of these committees will do all they can to humble the smartest geeks in the room.

Xi's second term: The most important date for the most important gathering of China's 2017 political calendar is now set: October 18.

That's the date announced for the start of the 19th national congress of China's ruling Communist Party, an essential gathering that takes place every five years.

First, this meeting with mark the end of Xi Jinping's first five-year term as head of the Communist Party of China and a number of senior members of the Party are expected to retire. In addition to making leadership changes, the national congress also reviews and makes changes if necessary to the Party's Constitution as well as selects the Central Committee, a powerful decision-making body.

There is no doubt that Xi Jinping will stay for a second term, but the real question for the national congress is who will join Xi on the Politburo and the Standing Committee - essential bodies that will influence commercial policy, economic reforms, and American businesses operating in China the next five years. 

Also, the outcome of gathering will provide an early indication whether Xi may break with recent precedent and stay for a third term (2022-2027) - a move which will lead to a new dynamic for American companies selling goods and services to the Chinese marketplace.