Re: Negligent certification
The engines are not "cranked up," at least the angle relative to the fuselage is about the same. The nose gear was lengthened to produce more clearance so the angle to the pavement changed, but that difference makes no difference to flying characteristics.
The main change is the projected area at high angles of attack is larger and farther forward so the pitch moment is a bit softer than previous planes at those high angles of attack. The software was to linearize the feel of the yoke so the plane handled the same. There's no thrust component to MCAS because the thrust has a constant pitch moment contribution regardless of pitch. It isn't anti-stall, it just so that simulators didn't need to be reprogrammed for the high angle case and the pilots didn't need to be recertified on high angle cases.