So I went to a cutting store and got some high quality Nacchi cobalt bits. Powder coated or something special like that. After trying on a THIRD spot, that one snapped after leaning in too hard. I was leaning so hard because nothing was shaving off again after the first indentation. So I found a local welder who quickly used his TIG and arced some 3/8 holes in like 20 seconds and $10 later, I had two holes. Saved me lots of frustration and cussing.
I used the step bits to widen them as I normally do then ground away the slag with my dremel and grinder. the top hole for the eye bolt was a piece of cake! So the bottom of the pot must have been case hardened from the factory. And I've read about inconsistencies with this brand, but I guess I got a really good one (which in my case was bad).
At the end of the long night, everything's in there. I learned two new lessons though:
1) don't put your eye bolt that high (my lid hits the inside nut, making it not sit flush so I'm going to have to do something about that.
2) my ball valve's crooked despite maximal tightness. I don't care that much because it's leak free!