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How To Take Back Your Power!

Ralph welcomes consumer advocates, Laura Antonini and Harvey Rosenfield, whose latest report is entitled “Reboot Required” about how in the past fifty years the civil justice system in America has fundamentally been weighted toward corporations and how ordinary people can start taking back that power. Plus, Ralph answers a listener question on the Ukraine crisis, and we pay tribute to two progressive champions, Paul Farmer and Joe Tom Easley.

Laura Antonini is an attorney and the Consumer Education Foundation’s Policy Director. She focuses on reforming deceptive practices law and class action litigation procedures. Previously, she was a staff attorney at Consumer Watchdog, where she worked on complex litigation in federal and state court, as well as California insurance regulatory issues. She is co-author (with Harvey Rosenfield) of the Reboot Required report and the accompanying Represent Act.

Harvey Rosenfield is one of the nation’s foremost consumer advocates and founder of the advocacy group, Consumer Watchdog based in Santa Monica California. Among many other accomplishments, Mr. Rosenfield authored Proposition 103 that has saved consumers hundreds of millions of dollars in auto insurance premiums. He has also co-authored groundbreaking initiatives on HMO reform and utility rate deregulation and is the author of the book, “Silent Violence, Silent Death: the Hidden Epidemic of Medical Malpractice.” He is co-author (with Laura Antonini) of the Reboot Required report and the accompanying Represent Act.

It’s time to bring consumer rights back on the map. It’s time to talk about going to court to hold these companies accountable. We see corporate greed disaster after corporate greed disaster… and it’s time for us to take the power back.

Laura Antonini, co-author of Reboot Required: The Civil Justice System Has Crashed

[Seeing how distorted our justice system was] actually had the opposite impact of discouraging me. It made me so angry that it motivated me… Instead of being discouraged, I felt actually inspired.

Laura Antonini, co-author of Reboot Required: The Civil Justice System Has Crashed

One thing we’ve had in common all these years is a sense of outrage, when we personally see these everyday indignities. And I’ve experienced them, and I know you’ve experienced them… You can’t go through life as an average person in this country– I’m not talking about the elites or the wealthy, they don’t care, they’re taken care of–  but the rest of us can’t go through our daily lives without getting hammered.

Harvey Rosenfield, co-author of Reboot Required: The Civil Justice System Has Crashed

I personally think that public confidence in the legal system has collapsed because the law no longer protects them, and we document that in our report Reboot Required. And when people lose faith in the rule of law… when that rule of law collapses because people no longer believe in it, we face anarchy and violence.

Harvey Rosenfield, co-author of Reboot Required: The Civil Justice System Has Crashed

We– as consumer advocates and environmental advocates and civil rights advocates– are all so busy trying to defend our rights, people haven’t taken the time to recognize that our rights have basically been stolen from us. They’re not enforced. And we, as people, need to be able to take matters into our own hands through the legal system and regain control.

Harvey Rosenfield, co-author of Reboot Required: The Civil Justice System Has Crashed


[Reboot Required] is not only a panorama of corporate crime, fraud, and abuse. But a detailed state model reform statute that any state, your state, your state legislators can introduce and have hearings on from Oregon to Florida, and California to Maine.

Ralph Nader


[Fine print contracts] have destroyed the great pillar, known as the “freedom of contract”, which the conservatives made a big deal out of years ago– they don’t do much criticism of these corporations who’ve taken away these rights of contract. So these companies will become their own private legislature. They actually override or undermine or circumvent laws on the books by saying, “Oh no, you waived it. You agreed to compulsory arbitration. You can’t go to court.”

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 416 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. George Wilson says:

    Mr. Nader, please consider a show that tells consumers how to retire from the internet. It seems to me that if a person dies, their web identity is still out there; still vulnerable to crooks and hackers. Thanks for all you and your staff do for we consumers.

  2. Don Harris says:

    Harvey Rosenfield is correct that the corporations have seized control of our legal and political systems.

    But there is no need to ask legislators why they are not doing anything about it. They answer that question every time they take big money to run their campaigns.

    The question that should be asked is why do citizens keep voting for them when the politicians have already told them before the election that they will be representing the big money interests by taking big money.

    All the demands in the world for the big money politicians to take action on behalf of ordinary citizens will not accomplish anything.

    Writing letters or giving them reports will not get them to take action or introduce, much less pass, legislation as they work for the big money interests that have no interest in seeing any such legislation passed.

    Citizens need to be better consumers of the choices offered in our elections.

    They can and should demand that candidates finance their campaigns only with small donors (no more than 200 dollars from any one person per election- 200 primary, 200 general) and enforce that demand with their votes.

    The only way to get action from legislators on these issues is to replace the big money legislators with small donor legislators.

    And you, Ralph, should be informing and leading citizens to be better consumers of the choices available in our political process by making this demand.

    • Bruce K. says:

      > The question that should be asked is why do citizens keep voting for them …

      I think the reason is that America, before any other country moved to a kind of shared TV/Media group think. TV and radio for the average Joe Schmoe, and Universities or Journalism for the more professional class, but none of these system really works to information or collate information to create a shared model of reality, in fact they all do the opposite now.

      American propaganda had all the world’s experts behind it, more believable and reasonable than anything Russia or China or Nazi Germany or any other authoritarian state did. We started to move our minds into a virtual subliminal world that became completely divorced from politics except at first for gentle jokes that dismissed anyone who was out of the mainstream.

      Then when the mainstream began to be not trusted for various reasons – like how we were told the story about the JFK assassination, then much later we found out truths behind our government and what some entities in it were doing, and that fractured us into a million pieces. It was great cover, noise and distraction for money to move in and completely take over the system, which is exactly what they said they were going to do – and with the Internet and the fracturing of TV and media we have no news, we have little bits of random information that everyone hears and sees differently and pieces fit together in our minds like a Rorschach image of the world that doesn’t match up with anyone else’s and there is nothing even trying to unify us any more.

      So, it becomes a fake political competition, a game, people pick a team ( probably why sports is so big in America, and everything is a battle or war ) and to listen to or root for anyone not in a major team is almost unthinkable. It’s about being on the winning side, or displaying your identity for various purposes, delusions ourselves into thinking we are somehow relevant maybe?