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swapDepths should work, but probably not as you used it. In general the lowest thing in level1 will always be above even the highest thing in level0. And in general the purpose of levels is to help you organize and structure your project. Personally I don't like layers and find they don't fit in with what I consider to be the core paradigm for Flash: the movieclip. But that is neither here nor there, i guess!
You should be able to change the stacking order of layers like this:
Well I'm wanting to leave everything on _level0 where it is underneath _level1 except the drop down menus of the menu bar component on _level0. When I swapped all of 0 with 1 it was ... visually fudged. :P
So the core question i guess is can a component on a level be raised by itself above another level?
In code speak...
//_level0 loaded with menu_bar movieClip on it.
// menu_bar.swapDepths(3); ????? this doesnt' work so i'm guessing each level has its own levels?
That is pretty much it. Each level is its own thing and can only be swapped as a whole. (Most folks, including some expert folks, are quite surprised that you can even do that!)