Colonel Rico is publicly executed for gross negligence after the fall of Roku San. Or at least, that's what General Hauser made it look like. In the film's epilogue, Rico is shown in a recruiting piece after leading the Marauder raid to rescue Beck and Holly from the Bug God. Evidently the Federation doesn't expect their viewers to notice that the soldier they saw publically executed shortly after went on to become a public war hero. Or they expect them to believe his "execution" was part of a deep-cover operation. Either way, they certainly don't think much of the public's memory or intelligence.
For all we know, they just proclaimed the new Marauders' poster-boy to be Paul Rico: the disgraced John Rico's twin brother, out to redeem his family name and make up for his brother's errors. It's not like there's likely to be anyone left alive from the original Buenos Aries impact-zone to testify that John Rico didn't have a twin, aside from Carmen and Carl who would cooperate with the ruse.
Alternately, it's a bald-faced lie, nobody is going to believe it if they're even half-paying attention, and the Federation doesn't expect them to. They hold all the power and simply don't care if the public believes what they say or not.
The opening propaganda clips are similar to the one from the first film, with a very conspicuous difference: the new weapon's demonstration uses an obviously-animated bug as its target, unlike the genuine ones from the cow and Carl clips. The humans are getting creamed badly enough that they can't capture live specimens anymore, or at least not enough to expend them in propaganda clips.
The first film makes mention of Mormon "extremists," whereas in this film, the whole Federation gets religeon. It's not so much that God's back, He never left.
The Federation's most sacred tennant is that service cannot be compelled. It has to be freely given for the good of society. For them to violate that by instituting conscription means they've crossed the Godzilla Threshold.